How not to get immigration legislation passed: Mexican President Assails U.S. Recent Crackdown On Illegal Immigrants
President Felipe Calderón harshly criticized the United States government on Sunday for the recent crackdown on illegal immigrants, saying it has led to the persecution of immigrant workers without visas.
The Bush administration has stepped up raids on factories and farms suspected of hiring illegal workers, imposing heavy fines and deporting a record number of illegal immigrants in 2006.
Criticizing the United States for its treatment of illegal Mexican immigrants has become routine for most Mexican politicians, including Mr. Calderón. Because the immigrants send home about $20 billion a year and because the yearly migration of more than 400,000 people relieves Mexico of masses of the poor, the government here has little incentive either to stem the migration northward or to support stricter measures making it harder for Mexicans to cross the border.
As the United States has stepped up enforcement efforts over the last two years, it has sent more and more Mexican immigrants home, where they have little or no work. Last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents deported 183,431 people after raids nationwide.
The border patrol, meanwhile, has reported steep declines in apprehensions along the border over the last year, suggesting that fewer people are trying to enter illegally in light of beefed-up patrols and new physical barriers.
Mr. Calderón . . . suggested that the deportation of undocumented immigrants bordered on a violation of human rights, and he vowed to help illegal migrants.
“I have said that Mexico does not stop at its border, that wherever there is a Mexican, there is Mexico,” he said. “And, for this reason, the government action on behalf of our countrymen is guided by principles, for the defense and protection of their rights.”
Last week, Mr. Calderón . . . met with Elvira Arellano, 32, a Mexican who entered the United states illegally and became famous among advocates for Mexican immigrants for defying deportation orders and claiming sanctuary in a Chicago church for a year. In a meeting in his Los Pinos residence, he promised to help Ms. Arellano obtain a visa for the United States.