Guy W. Farmer: How Mexico treats illegal immigrants
Although I admire Mexican President Felipe Calderon for confronting his country’s violent drug cartels, I was deeply disappointed when he violated diplomatic protocol by criticizing Arizona’s new immigration law during his recent state visit to Washington, D.C. If an American president did the same thing in Mexico City, he’d be chased back across the border.
Unfortunately, President Obama played Calderon’s blatantly hypocritical game by asserting that the Arizona law is “a misdirected expression of frustration over our broken immigration system.”
No, Mr. President, it’s an expression of frustration over your government’s failure to control our borders.
Meanwhile, President Calderon lambasted Arizona for “criminalizing” immigration. Excuse me, Mr. President, but illegal immigration is a crime by any definition, and your country is at least as tough on illegals as we are.
In fact, shortly before Calderon arrived in Washington, Amnesty International issued a report charging that illegal immigrants face “abuse, rape and kidnappings” in Mexico at the hands of corrupt police and government officials.
This report jibes with a surprising 2008 National Geographic article asserting that illegals who are captured attempting to cross the Suchiate River into Mexico from Guatemala are often assaulted and packed into dangerous and unsanitary detention facilities before being dumped back across the river.
Here in the U.S. illegal immigrants go to court with taxpayer-funded defense attorneys and interpreters. By contrast, illegals are frequently robbed and beaten by Mexican officials before being unceremoniously deported without any kind of due process.
Moreover, Mexico’s immigration laws are tougher than ours in several respects.
It may surprise you to learn that the state law signed last month by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is quite similar to Mexico’s General Population Law, which requires state and local police to cooperate with federal immigration authorities to arrest and deport illegal aliens. Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and illegals who attempt to re-enter Mexico after deportation can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. Mexico can also deport foreigners who are deemed “detrimental to economic or national interests,” whatever that means.
Sen. John Kyl, an Arizona Republican, called Calderon’s complaints “hypocritical” and said the Mexican president should apologize instead of condemning us for attempting to enforce our immigration laws. Amen!
Frankly, I’ve heard enough about “open borders” and the alleged “rights” of illegal immigrants when they have no rights in Mexico. That’s a double-standard that President Obama and our government should reject. Enough already!
• Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, worked on immigration issues during his 28-year U.S. Foreign Service career.