But the embassy has said the Mexican government is “deeply concerned by the potential dire effects” that the Arizona law will have on the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States — about 450,000 of them in Arizona.
“As it has been raised by national Latino and immigration rights organizations, initiatives that exclusively criminalize immigration create opportunities for an undue enforcement of the law through racial profiling,” Mr. Alday said in an April 15 statement.
The ambassador also warned of the “likelihood of negative effects that this measure … may have for the future development of friendship, commercial, tourist and cultural ties” between Mexico and Arizona.
The Arizona law, which is set to take effect in midsummer, authorizes state and local law enforcement officers — during lawful stops only — to determine the immigration status of people for whom there is “reasonable suspicion” that they are in the country illegally. Known as Senate Bill 1070, it was enacted in response to a dramatic rise in violence along the Arizona-Mexico border.
Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard requiring that before someone is arrested or detained there must be reasonable belief that the person has been, is or is about to be engaged in criminal activity.
A Rasmussen Reports poll has found that 70 percent of likely voters in Arizona approve of the legislation, while 23 percent oppose it.
Half of the nearly 1 million illegal border crossings into the United States each year occur in Arizona, according to a report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which also said Arizona taxpayers spend more than $2 billion a year on education and health care for illegal immigrants and their children.
“The porous border is virtually a welcome mat for criminal organizations that run drugs and other contraband through the state,” the immigration watchdog group said, adding that kidnappings in Phoenix are at a record high.
Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat who was arrested Saturday during a rally at the White House calling on Congress and the Obama administration to enact immigration reform, said more states “could adopt Arizona’s draconian law” if Congress doesnt act now.
“We must have fair and balanced reform to ensure immigrants are full participants in our economic recovery,” said Mr. Gutierrez, chairman of the Democratic Caucus Immigration Task Force, for which he is the party’s leading strategist and spokesman on immigration issues. “Enforcement-only tactics break up families, disrupt businesses, distract local law enforcement and drain local budgets.”
In signing the bill, Mrs. Brewer said she would “not tolerate racial discrimination or racial profiling” and emphasized an amendment to the bill that prevents law enforcement personnel from using a person’s race as the only factor in implementing the law.
“This protects all of us — every Arizona citizen and everyone here lawfully,” she said.
The key legal issue, according to attorneys on both sides, will be whether the state law interferes with the federal government’s duty to handle immigration.
Criticism of the Arizona law has come from several sources, including President Obama, who described it as an example of “irresponsibility” by the state. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has said the Justice Department is considering a legal challenge to the law.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that the Arizona law could distract the agency from using its resources to go after serious criminals. She said there were concerns that at some point “we’ll be responsible to enforce or use our immigration resources against anyone that would get picked up in Arizona.”View Entire Story
Jerry Seper is the investigative editor for The Washington Times.
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