Organization of the American States
Lawmakers from Arizona who oppose their state’s crackdown on illegal aliens are joining up with lawmakers from the Mexican state of Sonora to call on the Organization of the American States for a fix.
The Arizona statute, which essentially duplicates federal law to allow law enforcement officers to check the legal status of those they have reasonable suspicion may be in the United States illegally, has been targeted by Mexican authorities.
WND reported when the Mexican government said it respected the Obama administration’s decision to send 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S. southern border to counter cross-border drug and weapons trafficking as long as the troops don’t enforce U.S. immigration laws.
The Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C., said, “Regarding the administration’s decision to send 1,200 National Guard servicemen to the U.S. Southern border, the government of Mexico trusts that this decision will help to channel additional U.S. resources to enhance efforts to prevent the illegal flows of weapons and bulk cash into Mexico, which provide organized crime with its firepower and its ability to corrupt.”
It continued, “Additionally, the government of Mexico expects that National Guard personnel will strengthen U.S. operations in the fight against transnational organized crime that operates on both sides of our common border and that it will not, in accordance to its legal obligations, conduct activities directly linked to the enforcement of immigration laws [emphasis added].”
While the Arizona law bans racial profiling, the state has been accused of establishing the law to target suspects based on race. Federal immigration authorities even have suggested they may not cooperate with the state in enforcing the nation’s immigration laws.
Now, on a blog for Democrats in the Arizona Legislature, Sen. Amanda Aguirre has written about a meeting with lawmakers from Sonora where she and other critics of Arizona’s law agreed to appeal to the OAS.
The Arizona law critics and Mexican leaders at that meeting drafted and signed a resolution that “will be sent to the United Nations and the Organization of American States – Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.”
Aguirre wrote that the resolution states, “The participants of the Bi-National Conference of Legislators reiterate the ties of friendship that unite our two countries, particularly the states of Sonora and Arizona, and emphasize the importance of establishing and emphasizing bridges to promote dialogue between our countries. Faced with the promulgation of the law, we reiterate our total rejection of the criminalization of immigration and the application of the law based on racial profiling as indicated by law SB 1070.”
Aguirre wrote on the blog that the meeting was set with Sen. Emma Larios Gaxiola from Sonora and the “Bi-National Conference” in Nogales focused on the Arizona controversy.
Aguirre reported others from Arizona included Sens. Manny Alvarez, Linda Lopez and Jorge Luis Garcia. Mayors and elected representatives from Santa Cruz County and the cities of Douglas, San Luis, Nogales and Somerton also participated.
“The ramifications of this destructive legislation are already being felt in our economy and our relationship of cooperation with Mexico has been threatened. We held this meeting to continue the dialogue between the two countries and sister states, Arizona and Sonora, which has recently deteriorated due to the signing of SB 1070,” said Aguirre.
The discussion included commercial and economic impacts, civil rights and civil liberty impacts, and lawsuits filed, she said.
“As a senator from a border county, the simple fact is that this legislation does nothing to address border violence, and it lessens long-standing cooperation between communities and law enforcement. It also opens the door to abuses of civil liberties and racial profiling of U.S. citizens,” said Aguirre on the blog.
The plea is assured of getting a warm welcome in, at least, the OAS, which just last year opened its doors to full participation by Cuba. That organization’s Inter-American Commission for Human Rights earlier issued a resolution expressing “deep concern” over the law.
The commission said it was concerned over “the high risk of racial discrimination in the implementation of the law.”
It also worried about the “criminalization of the presence of undocumented persons.”
“In this regard, the IACHR wishes to recall that international norms establish that detention should be applied only under exceptional circumstances and only after it has been determined, in each individual case, to be necessary and proportional.”
It warned the U.S. about the state law.
“International law recognizes that countries may establish mechanisms to control the entry and departure of foreigners to their territory. Likewise, international law establishes that a state’s actions in this context must be applied with strict regard for the rights of the people affected and with observation of fundamental principles such as non-discrimination and the rights to liberty and personal integrity, which cannot be subordinated to the implementation of public policy objectives,” the statement said.
Aguirre told WND she went to the meeting because she wanted to continue a dialogue between Mexican leaders and U.S. communities who depend on the spending of Mexican citizens for their tax base.
She said she is concerned that the state law “criminalizes” being in the U.S. illegally, instead of leaving it a civil matter.
She said the request to the OAS is to determine whether the state law “infringes on the human rights” of people.
Several other Arizona lawmakers who attended the meeting did not respond to WND requests for comment.
Jose Miguel Insulza, the secretary general for the OAS, told the Buenos Aires Herald he hopes the law “is never applied against Latin American residents and immigrants.”
He said those who enter the U.S. illegally “have social responsibilities and provide economic benefits for that country.”
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