Immigration Laws: Mexico vs Arizona

Immigration, Rights

By now, you’ve already heard about Arizona’s controversial new immigration law. Shortly after it was passed Mexican President Felipe Calderon called it “racial discrimination” and a “violation of human rights.”

Given those accusations, many people assumed that Mexico’s immigration laws are more lenient than Arizona’s.  But are they? Well, you be the judge.

First, let’s quickly recap Arizona’s new law:

–  Being in Arizona illegally is a state crime.

–  When a local police officer has reasonable suspicion that a person is in the US illegally, he’s required to investigate the immigration status of that person.

–  When a local police officer finds a person in the US illegally, he has the authority to “securely transport” the alien into federal custody inside or outside of Arizona.

–  Anyone can sue any local agency or official who implements a policy that limits or restricts the enforcement of federal immigration law.

Now, let’s take a look at Mexico’s immigration laws.

According to Reglamento de la Ley General Poblacion—Mexico’s population and immigration law passed in 2000—the federal, local, and municipal police must work with federal immigration authorities to arrest illegal immigrants.

Article 67 says “Authorities, whether federal, state or municipal are required to demand that foreigners prove their legal presence in the country before attending to any issues.”

Illegal immigration is a felony in Mexico, and if convicted, an illegal immigrant can be sent to prison for up to two years. But that’s not all. Deported immigrants who try to return to Mexico can actually be punished with a 10 year prison sentence, and those who violate their Visa can be thrown in prison for up to six years. Also, any Mexican citizen who helps an illegal immigrant could face criminal charges.

Other key points you should know about Mexico’s immigration laws:

–  Foreigners who are considered a threat to economic or national interests can be deported.

–  Those foreigners who don’t have the “necessary funds for their sustenance” may be deported.

–  Foreigners can’t be a burden to taxpayers, so there is no welfare, food stamps, healthcare, or other government assistance.

–  Foreigners may not protest or have any demonstrations. This can lead to deportation.

–  Citizenship is granted on a basis “according to (the immigrant’s) possibilities of contributing to national progress.”

–  Naturalized Mexicans (those granted citizenship by means other than birth) may not hold dual citizenship and can’t run for most government posts.

Tougher than Arizona’s?

So are Mexico’s immigration laws tougher than Arizona’s? And even if they are, does it really matter?

Note: Thanks to the Washington Times and Slate for their information on these laws.