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.
The schism was apparent Thursday, as so few Republicans showed up for Calderon’s address that four of the seven and a half Republican rows in front of Calderon, about 40 seats, were filled largely by student pages.
Calderon offered blistering comments about the Arizona law, which is slated to go into effect July 29. It would permit law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of people they stop for other reasons. Obama has said the Justice Department will review the law.
“I strongly disagree with the recently adopted law in Arizona,” the Mexican president said, as most Democrats stood and cheered. He denounced it as “a terrible idea using racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement.”
Republicans reacted strongly.
“It’s inappropriate for a head of state to question our laws, especially when the state of Arizona only acted in the best interest of its citizens and with the support of 70 percent of its people,” said Hatch, a senior Senate Judiciary Committee member.
Well, we’ve finally found something our President and the Democrats in Congress will stand up for: a foreign “leader” – one whose own country has tough immigration laws similar to our own federal laws on the issue – slamming and demagoguing a state law on immigration that … essentially mirrors our federal law, and has many similarities to Mexico’s laws as well.