New Rule Would Mean Presidents Are Born, Not Made

Now who's sounding anti-immigrant?

In Mexico, any time an event in the United States targets immigrants - for example, when California voted in 1994 to cut off benefits to illegal immigrants - there are cries of racism and anti-immigrant policies north of the border.

Usually, self-described "nationalist" members of the Mexican Congress are among the loudest voices condemning the "shameful" xenophobic tendencies of Mexico's northern neighbor.

But a fear of foreigners appears to be at least one of the forces behind a proposal from a group of congressmen to limit who is eligible to become president.

Currently, the Constitution allows citizens with a foreign-born parent to hold the office. The self-described "nationalist" legislators of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) want to return to a law that required both of a president's parents to be Mexican-born.

The proposed change is clearly a stab at opposition candidate Vicente Fox, whose mother was born in Spain. Mr. Fox calls the proposal "foolishness," but also covers his bases by describing Mom as "more Mexican than chiles."

The idea is causing hyperbole that in other contexts - or other countries - would draw howls of protest. Wintilo Vega Murillo - a PRI congressman from Guanajuato state, where Fox is governor - declared his support of the change to the Mexico City daily El Financiero this way: "Mexico for 100-percent Mexicans!"

Not exactly music to an immigrant's ears.

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