President Calderon gave a speech to a joint session of Congress this morning in which he slammed Arizona’s new immigration law. As expected, half of the room gaving him a standing ovation while the other half sat stone faced.
WASHINGTON — Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Thursday strongly denounced Arizona’s new law clamping down on illegal immigrants and urged members of Congress to pass “comprehensive immigration reform.”
“I’m convinced comprehensive immigration reform is crucial to securing our border,” Calderon said in the first address to Congress by a foreign national leader this year. “But I strongly disagree with the recently adopted law in Arizona.”
“It’s a law that not only ignores reality, but also introduces racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement,” he said.
Calderon was delivering a message Thursday that the two countries must cooperate to improve security along the often-violent border and control the flow of immigrants into the United States.
Calderon said his “government does not favor the breaking of the rules” and that he respects the right of any country to “enact and enforce its own laws.”
“But what we need today is to fix a broken and inefficient system,” he said. “We favor the establishment of laws that work and work well for all.”
Republican lawmakers welcomed Calderon’s call for improved relations between the two countries but not his lecture on fixing the U.S. immigration system.
“I think it’s inappropriate for him to come in and criticize our law,” Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told Fox News. “When we go down to Mexico, we don’t do that to the Mexicans.”
“The Arizona law is not the problem,” he added. “The problem is the growing violence down the border and securing the border and the Obama administration enforcing federal law.”
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said he was “disappointed that President Calderon did not use this opportunity before us to talk about what more Mexico will do to discourage illegal immigration and improve conditions so that good, hardworking Mexican citizens will want to stay home instead of coming to America.”
“The economic and tax reforms that President Calderon discussed are important, but they are not enough to curb the flow of illegal immigration,” he said in a written statement. “Instead, President Calderon continues to mischaracterize and criticize domestic policies of the United States. It is not right for the president of another country to come here and criticize our nation or our states for wanting to stop human smuggling and drug trafficking, or secure our border.”
Calderon’s state visit comes at a time of renewed furor over the flawed immigration system from Mexico into the United States. From border security troubles to questions about how to deal with the millions of illegal migrants living in the United States, the immigration debate remains politically vexing, frustrating and volatile.
Obama is lobbying lawmakers to get moving on legislation that would seek to deal with the security, employment and citizenship issues at once. He concedes, however, that he does not yet have the Republican support he would need to get such a complex deal done. Whether any progress will happen this year is unclear.
Stoking the matter is a new law approved by Arizona lawmakers and set to take effect July 29 unless derailed by legal challenges. It requires police, in the context of enforcing other laws, to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the United States illegally.
Calderon calls that discriminatory, and Obama agrees the Arizona law could well be applied that way. He has ordered a Justice Department review.
Calderon also told Congress Thursday that the fight against narcotics traffickers along the border can only succeed if the United States reduces its demand for illegal drugs.
He said the United States must stop the flow of assault weapons and other arms across the border.
The Mexican leader found an ally at the White House Wednesday, where Obama is pressing lawmakers to take up legislation that would deal with security, employment and citizenship issues.
Sonoran lawmakers say returning citizens are a burden
You can’t make this up. On the heels of Eric Holder condemning Arizona’s SB 1070, which he HASN’T READ, comes a verbal lambasting by Sonoran officials. A delegation from the border state recently traveled to Tucson where, whining (in Spanish), they explained that the law “will have devastating consequences.” Returning countrymen will apparently burden schools, compete for jobs, stress social services, and cease the practice of sending dinero across the border to benefit their economy.
This from representative Leticia Amarano-Gamez (in Spanish): “How can they pass a law like this? There is not one person living in Sonora who does not have a friend or relative working in Arizona. Mexico is not prepared for the tremendous problems it will have as more and more Mexicans working in Arizona and sending money to their families return to hometowns without jobs. We are one family, socially and economically,” she said of the people who reside in Arizona and her state.
She is nuts. We are not “one family.” To be outraged that their own citizens will cease to burden their neighbor and, in turn, transfer those burdens to themselves, is muy loco. How do you say, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” in Spanish? It’s high time we redefined “logic” and did so in American terms.