Mexican president slams immigration law before Congress

Mexican President Felipe Calderon condemned Arizona’s tough, new immigration law during a joint session speech Thursday to Congress.

Calderon said the Arizona law, which is meant to stem the tide of illegal immigrants into the state, primarily from Mexico, “introduces a terrible idea that uses racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement.”

“I am convinced that a comprehensive immigration reform is crucial to securing our common border,” the Mexican president told lawmakers in both parties gathered for the speech. “However I strongly disagree with your recently adopted law in Arizona.”

Democrats stood and applauded Calderon’s remarks at that point in the speech, while many Republicans remained seated, with no applause.

Republicans had criticized Calderon for using an appearance with President Barack Obama on Wednesday at the White House to attack the Arizona law, which compels law enforcement officials to confront individuals whom they suspect of being illegal immigrants to ask them to produce paperwork proving their legal status in the United States.

“I just don’t think it’s right for the president of another country to come here and criticize our nation or our states for wanting to stop human smuggling, stop drug trafficking, or, frankly, securing their borders,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, on Fox News Thursday.

Calderon called on the U.S. to work with Mexico on closing the porous border between the two countries.

“My government does not favor the breaking of the rules. I fully respect the right of every country to enact and enforce its own laws,” he said. “But what we need to do today is fix our broken and unefficient [sic] system.”

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