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My Suggested Compromise: Let’s Adopt Mexico’s Immigration Laws?

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has been ripping into Arizona’s immigration law as he tours Washington — while appearing to disregard the way his own country cracks down on immigrants along Mexico’s southern border.

Mexico repeatedly has been cited by human rights groups for abusing or turning a blind eye to the abuse of migrants from Central America. Until recently, Mexican law made illegal immigration a criminal offense — anyone arrested for the violation could be fined, imprisoned for up to two years and deported. Mexican lawmakers changed that in 2008 to make illegal immigration a civil violation like it is in the United States, but their law still reads an awful lot like Arizona’s.

Arizona’s policy, which Calderon derided on Wednesday as “discriminatory,” requires law enforcement to try to determine the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant — provided they are already in contact with that person. They can’t randomly stop people and demand papers and the law prohibits racial profiling.

The Mexican law also states that law enforcement officials are “required to demand that foreigners prove their legal presence in the country before attending to any issues.”

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