Byline: James Morrison, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
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. …