- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 22, 2010

‘RACIAL PROFILING’

The Mexican Embassy is denouncing as racist a bill passed by the Arizona Legislature that would require police to determine the immigration status of people suspected of entering the United States illegally.

Mexican Embassy spokesman Ricardo Alday said his government is “deeply concerned by the potential dire effects” of the Arizona bill, which was passed by the Legislature and is awaiting for Gov. Jan Brewer’s signature. An estimated 13 million foreigners are living in the United States illegally, with several hundred thousand 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.

The law targets illegal, not legal, immigrants. It would allow local and state police to determine the immigration status of people detained under “reasonable suspicion” they are in the United States illegally.

Mr. Alday 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.

Recently Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan warned of racism among opponents of illegal immigration.

“We must seek to push back against those who would inject prejudice, hate and xenophobia in a debate that needs to be waged on the merits of sound arguments and not through baseless polarization,” he wrote in the embassy’s latest newsletter.

In Arizona on Wednesday, the state senator who sponsored the bill criticized the Mexican Embassy for injecting itself into a U.S. domestic matter.

“This is simply, simply outrageous,” Sen. Russell Pearce told Embassy Row.

He said his bill specifically prohibits racial profiling and guarantees civil rights, adding that it also gives police discretion when detaining people suspected of a crime.

“I wouldn’t tolerate anything else,” he said. “I’m a limited-government, states rights type of guy.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador in Mexico is warning that the mounting drug skirmishes along Mexico’s border with the United States are the “biggest threat” to foreign investment and economic progress.

U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual told the American Chamber of Commerce in Monterrey that the drug violence could severely cripple the country’s ability to attract foreign investment, currently nearly $30 billion.

“Unchecked, violence and instability could cause corporations to rethink their business strategy of locating in Mexico,” he warned on Wednesday.

The drug violence that has claimed about 2,300 lives since 2006 is “perhaps the biggest threat to our shared economic success,” Mr. Pascual added.

‘PROVOCATION’

After a week on the job, the new U.S. ambassador in Nepal already is wading into the country’s messy domestic politics with urgent calls for restraints on large-scale street protests beginning May 1, widely celebrated as a Marxist holiday in the Himalayan country.

Ambassador Scott H. DeLisi met Wednesday with former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, leader of a top Maoist party; Jhalanath Khanal, chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist; and Ram Chandra Poudel, the parliamentary leader of the Nepali Congress party. He held talks with Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Monday, the day after he presented his diplomatic credentials to President Ram Baran Yadav.

“Large demonstrations always have the potential to become confrontational or be the occasion for provocation,” Mr. DeLisi told reporters in Katmandu.

“We urge all parties in the days ahead to show both restraint and good judgment in how they approach their efforts to advance the political process.”

Nepal’s parliament set May 28 as a deadline to adopt a new constitution to end a decade of civil war between Maoists and the government and years of political instability.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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