Arizona immigration law: Will it hurt Mexico's drug war, as US lawsuit says?
Mexico applauded the Obama administration's lawsuit against the Arizona immigration law. The US lawsuit argues that the Arizona law undermines the effort to fight crime, especially the drug war. What do Mexicans say?
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The lawsuit’s argument that a blanket immigration law hurts the fight against traffickers makes sense to other analysts, however.Skip to next paragraph
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“It's easy to understand the legitimate concerns of people in Arizona about border security, but the measure actually makes the border far less secure,” says Andrew Selee, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.
It will “create fear and distrust of authorities in the minds of legal foreign nationals and good citizens with illegal status in Arizona who might be very useful in helping to stop the traffic of illegal drugs through their contacts in foreigner networks,” says Malcolm Beith, a freelance journalist and author of a forthcoming book on the drug war, "The Last Narco."
The suit also argues that only the federal government, and not a “patchwork” of local entities, can set immigration policy – an apparent reference to other states looking to pass similar laws. In addition, the U.S. government says that the law will cause legal immigrants and visitors to be harassed, and requests an injunction to stop the law from taking effect July 29.
Mexico has strongly condemned the law, filing an amicus brief last month in a lawsuit brought by major civil rights groups. Also in June, governors of Mexican border states said they would not attend this year’s Border Governors Conference unless it was moved from the scheduled location in Arizona. The boycott led Gov. Jan Brewer last week to cancel the September meeting, which has reportedly caused a split among US governors over whether to hold the conference in another state.
For some Mexicans, the US lawsuit is not a defense of civil rights, but merely a step the Obama administration is taking to restrain a state that is overstepping its authority.
“It’s not good or bad; it’s what they should be doing,” said Francisco Adrian Martinez, a 24-year-old engineering student in Mexico City.
IN PICTURES: The US/Mexico border
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- Obama's immigration reform plans
- Mexico news coverage