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Mexican gov't asks U.S. court to throw out SB 1070

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Mexican gov't asks U.S. court to throw out SB 1070

Mexico's government says Az law interferes with diplomacy, provides for racial profiling, 'poisons well'

  • Mexican President Felipe Calderon in 2009.
    World Economic Forum/FlickrMexican President Felipe Calderon in 2009.

The Mexican government jumped into the fight against Arizona's SB 1070 on Monday, telling a federal court that the immigration law "threatens to poison the well" of U.S.-Mexican diplomacy and will lead to racial profiling of Mexican citizens.

A 28-page amicus curiae brief filed in U.S. District Court says that Mexico has a "substantial and compelling interest" in seeing its diplomatic relations with the U.S. not be "frustrated by the actions of individual U.S. states" and in "ensuring that its citizens are accorded human and civil rights" while they are in the U.S.

The "friend of the court" brief asks the court to declare SB 1070 "unconstitutional in its entirety." The filing is the Mexican government's first official foray into the debate over the law, although President Felipe Calderon called SB 1070 a "terrible idea" while addressing a joint session of Congress.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week that the federal government will file suit against Arizona over the law.

The brief says SB 1070 raises issues "of great importance to the people of Mexico, including the almost twenty million Mexican workers, tourists and students lawfully admitted to the United States throughout 2009, those already present or who will similarly be admitted to the U.S in the future, and the countless millions affected by international trade, immigration policies and drug violence."

Mexico says SB 1070 will impact the $7.35 million its citizens spend every day in Arizona.

"If S.B. 1070 takes effect, Mexican citizens will be afraid to visit Arizona for work or pleasure out of concern that they will be subject to unlawful police scrutiny and detention," says the brief.

Mexico's brief says that Arizona's anti-illegal immigration law will disrupt a U.S. move toward comprehensive immigration reform. It quotes Mexico's ambassador to the U.S., who said SB 1070 "threatens to poison the well from which our two nations have found and should continue to find inspiration for a joint future of prosperity, security, tolerance and justice."

Mexico also says that the law will impeded efforts to combat drug trafficking, by "straining and encumbering bilateral collaboration."

SB 1070 earns a comparison to "actions taken toward African-Americans during and prior to the Civil Rights movement." The brief says this serves to "underscore the potential harm and lasting negative effects of SB 1070."

The Mexican government raises concerns of racial profiling, saying "SB 1070 gives local officers carte blanche authority to stereotype and to rely on the popular perception that appearances of "foreign-ness" are justifiable means for
disparate treatment."

The brief goes on: "Giving state police the authority to simply create a description of what an illegal immigrant looks like is plainly racial profiling, which is why Mexico is concerned. This inevitably will lead to casting an overbroad net in the pursuit of "illegal immigrants," with individuals being stopped based on appearance."

The brief says that "racial profiling by law enforcement may encourage private organizations or citizens to target Mexican citizens."

"When aligned with other drastic measures, such as the recently enacted bill intended to ban the multicultural studies program in the Tucson Unified School District, it becomes unavoidable to see that Arizona's legislative efforts constitute a discriminatory policy. SB 1070's discriminatory objective runs against the fundamental rights of people living in the United States," says the Mexican government's filing.

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