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Mexico president criticizes Arizona immigration law

Mexican President Felipe Calderon [official website, Spanish] on Monday strongly criticized [press release, in Spanish] Arizona's new immigration law, claiming that the measure opens the door to intolerance and hatred. The Arizona bill [SB 1070 materials], signed into law [JURIST report] last week by Governor Jan Brewer, makes it a crime to be an undocumented immigrant and requires police to question anyone whose immigration status appears suspect. Calling the law a violation of human rights [WP report], Calderon promised that it will be a pressing item on his agenda during his upcoming visit to Washington in May. Calderon has also called on Mexico's foreign ministry and consulates in the US to begin defending the rights of Mexicans and suggested that trade and political ties between Arizona and Mexico will be seriously affected.

Two Latino advocacy groups have said they plan to challenge [JURIST report] the constitutionality of Arizona's new immigration law, alleging it permits racial profiling. Officials from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) [advocacy website; press release] and the National Coalition of Latino Christian Clergy [advocacy website] contend the law will let police single out minorities for immigration inspections. US President Barack Obama has also criticized the law [JURIST report], calling for federal immigration reform. Under the law, it is designated a crime [AP report] to be in the country illegally, and immigrants unable to verify their legal status could be arrested and jailed for six months and fined $2,500.

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