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Mexicans cry foul over SB 1070

Many wary as the Supreme Court weighs controversial law

MEXICO CITY — Migrants and advocacy groups on both sides of the border urged the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the controversial Arizona immigration law that has sparked outrage in Mexico.

The renewed calls against the law — known as SB 1070 — came after the Supreme Court on Monday announced it would wade into the issue and review federal court rulings that parts of the law are unconstitutional.

The decision was rapidly splashed across media outlets in Mexico, where politicians, priests and pundits have called the law "fascistic," "authoritarian" and "racist."

In Tucson, some 300 migrants and activists marched against SB 1070 and increased deportations, holding banners of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Catholic symbol venerated throughout Mexico.

“This is a law which somehow allows racial profiling,” Jorge Mujica, a Chicago-based member of the National Alliance for Immigrant Rights, told Global Post. “If police are encouraged to stop you for suspicion of being an illegal immigrant what does that mean? Are they going to stop you because you drive with a sombrero, or because you have a black moustache, or what?”

Officially called Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, SB 1070 was approved in 2010 amid arguments that the federal government was failing to stop illegal immigrants flooding Arizona and other states.

Its most controversial provision requires police officers to ask for papers of anyone who they suspect could be in the country without the correct documents — effectively making local police take the roles of immigration officers.

However, after the White House appealed against the law, federal courts ruled that the provision was unconstitutional as U.S. law clearly defines immigration as a federal issue.

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If the Supreme Court — which is expected to rule on the case in the spring — upholds this decision, it would be a barrier to other anti-immigrant laws across the United States.

But if the court were to rule in favor of Arizona’s legislation, it would be a crushing blow to migrant advocate groups and spark a heightened confrontation with Mexico over the issue.

“It is good that the Supreme Court is looking at this issue. But if we lose that could have very grave consequences,” Mujica said.

Other provisions of SB 1070 levy criminal charges against people who assist illegal immigrants or offer them work. Arizona has also tightened access to state services for undocumented migrants.

The Mexican government did not immediately offer a reaction about the Supreme Court’s decision to wade into the case.

Many Mexican politicians have been backing a boycott against Arizona over the law, urging tourists not to spend money in the state, or musicians and athletes to play there.

The Mexican government also had issued a travel advisory warning that “it must be assumed that every Mexican citizen may be harassed and questioned without cause at any time.”

Many migrants have left Arizona because of the measures, hitting agriculture and other businesses.

“There has been a very bad atmosphere for migrants in Arizona and this has made many who are not very established there get up and leave to other parts of the United States,” Mujica said.

The Arizona law prompted similar legislation in South Carolina, Alabama and Utah, where the Supreme Court decision also will be watched closely.

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In Alabama, a German executive working for Mercedes-Benz and a Japanese employee working for Honda, both of whom were legally in the country, were charged under the state's new, stricter immigration laws.

When the Arizona law was approved in 2010, Mexicans railed against it from church pulpits to the stages of rock concerts.

"Nobody can stand with their arms crossed in the face of decisions that clearly effect our countrymen,” President Felipe Calderón said then. “In this case, legislation is moving forward that opens the door to unacceptable racial discrimination."

Prominent journalist and TV presenter Ricardo Rocha went further, saying the law “is just like the German Nazi laws that make Jews scared to go out on the streets. We have to smash their business agreements in the nose. We have to declare war on Arizona.”

There are an estimated 12 million undocumented migrants in the United States, about half of who are Mexican.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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Latest comments on this storyRead all 9 »

Dec 13, 2011, 4:28 pm
-1 +0

With the catastrophe escalating over illegal immigration, there seems to be only a few new laws that formulate any sense to the American people. To stop both parties from superseding any previous laws from Congress, the only possible way to stop illegal immigration, is at the source? That is the business who hires illegal labor, and controlling it with the mandatory law titled ‘The Legal Workforce ACT’ (Bill H.R 2885.) Commonly known as E-Verify that will identify foreign nationals, sneaking into the workplace with stolen ID or whoever procured. Lamar Smith of Texas was the originator of the law, which had been created as a pilot program by former President Bush. To contain the Liberal Progressives in the Obama Administration from suing Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, Utah, Georgia for trying to save further erosion of state funds by illegal aliens, they were forced to enact strictly policing laws. The courts have used their empowerment to place a huge burden on citizens and residents many unfunded mandates, with little financial aid from the government covering three decades.

The bounty for illegal aliens who reach these shores, cross borders or deliberately enter under false pretenses from international flights is over a hundred billion dollars a year and rising per annum. Today it has emasculated states like California, Nevada and Texas. The only way to find a way out of this disorder is not through Former Speaker Newt Gingrich ideology, but through strict recourse of enforcing our laws. Since the 1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act nobody in Washington had had the people’s welfare in mind, until the sudden exploitation by foreign nationals on Arizona.

While the Supreme Court fumbles over Arizona’s SB 1070 tough enforcement bills, we have a limited time to press for passage of E-Verify. Otherwise SCOTUS, could swing every way and America could find our ‘Rule of Law” by states becomes even more restrictions. Numerous states who are adverse to Obama National Health Care, we can effuse the House of Representatives pass the ‘The Legal Workforce ACT’ Ongoing as it is, the law to be read needs only 30 more co-sponsor out of a 100. Just yesterday a second Democrat Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) has added his name to the list. It’s been hard going, but thousands of well-informed Americans see this as a deterrent to claiming back payroll jobs, to US workers. Much more can be read about the nationwide E-Verify program by going to the NumbersUSA website. You can also participate by call you’re US or state Senator or Congressman at 202-224-3121. This is your connection to Washington and the operator will direct you to every politician’s office.

Dec 13, 2011, 4:27 pm
-1 +0

There are 20 million Americans out of work and you can help supply a job, which is at the moment held by illegal aliens. On a wide scale as ICE has completed an assault on suspicious business, as illegal labor has been caught, those jobs have rapidly been filled by authorized individuals. Legal Blacks, Hispanics, White, Middle Easterners, African countries and others to claimed a job. The E-Verify program will even open more jobs to the 22 million people who are waiting.

A second bill that has 80 sponsors is H.R.140, titled the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011, which was introduced on Jan 5. 2011, by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) as of last month. This will ascertain that a baby smuggled into our nation, for the sole purpose of illegal parents to take advantage of the taxpayers. From the time of entry the parent can collect public entitlement, using the child as a fulcrum to remain here.  Benefits will accumulate over many years of health care, education and further welfare supplements.

Now we have to speculate if the diverse ‘denominational’ bishops are in a contest to see who can be the most insensitive to their unemployed American parishioners. Unquestionably, the United Methodist, Episcopal and Lutheran bishops are vying for the title.  Except more than 30 Catholic bishops have perhaps put themselves ahead of the pack with their latest letter that could be interpreted to mean that unemployed Catholics should thank illegal aliens for breaking the law and taking their jobs?

If you believe in the ‘Rule of Law’ as established in the Constitution, you should join one of the thousands of local chapter of the TEA PARTY. The splinter party of the established Republican is adamant against any form of Amnesty, illegal Sanctuary cities and the Dream Act.

Dec 13, 2011, 3:44 pm
-1 +0

I have a friend who best summed up how he feels, and I also feel, about the illegal immigration problem. He said…

“You come to my house and knock on the front door, I’ll probably let you in. You try to sneak in my house using the doggy door, you’re probably going to get shot.”

The friend I speak of…he is of Mexican ancestry.

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People hold signs against SB 1070 during a rally on May 1, 2010, in Minneapolis.