Mexico’s Calderon: Arizona Immigration Law “Discriminatory”

Mexican President Felipe CalderonMexican President Felipe Calderon has become the latest official to oppose Arizona’s new immigration law, saying that it could lead to discrimination and abuse. Calderon said the recently passed law, which could take effect as early as July, could compromise the harmonious relationship between Mexico and the U.S. border state.

The Mexican state of Sonora had already backed out of its annual cooperation meeting with Arizona as a sign of protest against the tough immigration law, which would require authorities to question the immigration status of workers who are suspected of entering the U.S. state illegally. The law labels as a misdemeanor offense being caught without proper immigration documents. Under current state immigration law, questioning the legality of an immigrant is only required if the person is a suspect in another crime.

A tough stance by Mexico against the law would have heavy economic repercussions as the country is Arizona’s largest foreign market. Arizona earned $4.5 billion from exports to Mexico last year.

Arizona lawmakers who passed the law believe that the legislation is important to address crimes purportedly committed by illegal immigrants. There are an estimated 460,000 undocumented immigrants living in the state.