Mexico waded into the American political debate over immigration Friday with a plea to tone down the rhetoric after an older Mexican man was beaten in Boston earlier this week and one of the suspects made comments praising GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to get tough on illegal immigrants.
The country’s embassy in Washington issued a statement blasting attacks “motivated by racism, national origin or the migratory status of any individual,” and said it will track the case to make sure the perpetrators are punished.
“Mexico strongly condemns this incident and asks that the contributions of the immigrant community to the economy, society, values and culture in the United States be recognized for the positive forces that they are and the close ties they create between our two societies,” the embassy said.
According to news reports, the suspects in the beating told police they agreed with Mr. Trump that illegal immigrants should be deported.
Immigrant-rights advocates have seized on the attack, saying they’ve noticed an increase in vitriol in the immigration debate since Mr. Trump launched his campaign with a speech in which he blamed Mexico for sending rapists and other bad actors to the U.S.
Mr. Trump has stood by his statements, and points to a growing list of high-profile murders in which illegal immigrants, often of Mexican origin, have been implicated.
Mexico has long pushed for the U.S. to grant legal status and citizenship to its own citizens who are living in the U.S. illegally — a stance that has irked some American policymakers, who question the role Mexico has played in lobbying on U.S. laws.
Mexico did not single out Mr. Trump for blame, but said it would push for “constructive dialogue” about immigration.
Asked about the beating Wednesday, Mr. Trump said it “would be a shame” if someone had cited him as a factor in the crime.
“I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again,” he said.