Friday, May 2, 2008

Mexico's Immigration Problem

Representative Tom Tancredo (R, CO), the loudest anti-immigrant voice in Congress, has chided Mexico for being hypocritical on immigration. Its president pleads for an open door on the northern border while the country seals its southern border. While it's not quite that simple, Mexico does have an immigration problem that belatedly it's beginning to address. The country was stunned when a U.N. human rights observer remarked that "the immunity with which Mexico victimizes Central American immigrants makes it the principal violator of human rights on the American continent."

The problem is that immigrants from across Latin America have being streaming across the southern border illegally -- most on their way to the U.S. But many stay as low wage workers and create the kind of complaints one expects from U.S. nativists about Mexicans here. Central American particularly complain of rough treatment by the police and the military. This has sparked investigation and action in the Mexican Congress. (See Chicago Tribune article.)

Reports from around the country on those participating in the May 1st demonstration for immigrants' rights indicate that the numbers were down substantially. This was anticipated for a numbers of reasons -- fear among the undocumented of ICE, differences over strategy, and simply rivalries among the leadership. The demonstrations nonetheless were lively and the chief complaint was against the stepped-up ICE raids. (See NY Times article.)

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