Mexico sees silver lining in Arizona immigration law
The Arizona immigration law, and a similar one passed by a town in Nebraska, is supported by a majority of Americans. But Mexico sees broader American opposition to these immigration initiatives than in the past anti-immigrant efforts.
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This fight resonates with the overall population, says Allert Brown-Gort, associate director of the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies. “This is starting to become a civil rights issue,” he explains. “During [the] 2006 marches, it was clear that it was a powerful movement, that there was passion behind it. … But once you start looking at the Arizona law, and the fact that it basically says, look at me, I am brown, ask me for my papers, it starts resonating with people.”Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures The scene at the US/Mexico border
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Mexico has voiced vehement opposition to the law. On Tuesday, it presented a brief in a US federal court in Arizona citing “grave concerns.” “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,” the brief said, according to the Associated Press.
Overwhelmingly Mexicans also oppose the Arizona law. Carlos Pino, who owns an ice-cream store in Mexico City, says that even though it is a local initiative it increases the overall sentiment of being “undesirables,” he says. “Mexicans can feel that rejection.”
A Washington Post/ABC News poll from earlier this month shows that 58 percent of Americans support the law in Arizona, whose governor says it had no choice but to pass an initiative – which allows suspicious police to question those stopped for other offenses about their immigration status – because of federal inaction on immigration.
But the poll notes that race colors perceptions of the Arizona immigration law. While 68 percent of whites support it, only 31 percent of nonwhites back it.
While a definite majority of Americans support the Arizona immigration law and many more initiatives are expected, such as the most recent in Fremont, Neb., many Americans are also opposed. And that gives Jessica Fabiola Vega, a librarian in Mexico City, hope that something positive can be gained. “We are seeing support from the US too, not just from immigrants, and maybe that is something good that could come out of this.”
But, she adds, the US government needs to do more than just verbally oppose the bill. “That is welcome, but as of now the law will still go into effect.”
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