Mexico turns table on travel advisory, issues warning on trips to Arizona
We've grown accustomed to those travel warnings that the U.S. State Department issues every so often, advising U.S. citizens to "exercise extreme caution" when visiting parts of Mexico -- usually after some new shootout or gruesome slaying.
Now it's Mexico's turn to say: watch out. The Mexican government Tuesday issued its own travel warning, urging Mexican citizens to be careful in Arizona. The reason of course is the new tough immigration law that Gov. Jan Brewer signed last week and that requires people to carry proof of legal status or face arrest. Critics, including the Obama administration and immigrant advocates, say the law is discriminatory; Mexican President Felipe Calderon slammed the law as racist and hateful.
"As was clear during the [Arizona] legislative process, there is a negative political environment for migrant communities and for all Mexican visitors," the Mexican Foreign Relations Ministry said in its alert, posted in Spanish and English on the ministry's website.
Although details on how the law will be enforced remain unclear, the ministry said, "it must be assumed that every Mexican citizen may be harassed and questioned without further cause at any time."
The controversial law has refocused Washington's attention on possible immigration reform, The Times' Peter Nicholas writes:
White House officials say the Arizona law underscores an untenable void in federal immigration policy. Without congressional action, they warn, Arizona and other states will create a patchwork of laws that don't resolve the core problem: how to strengthen the borders and deal with the 11 million people who are in the U.S. illegally.
A Times' editorial seems to agree and offers Arizona a backhanded thanks for accomplishing what so many others have failed to do: put immigration back at the top of the U.S. agenda.
--Tracy Wilkinson in Mexico City
Photo: A demonstrator with U.S. and Mexican flags. Credit: Los Angeles Times