Calderon Criticizes Arizona Immigration Law

The Mexican president asked Congress for help stemming the illegal flow of weapons over the border.

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Mexican President Felipe Calderon asked Congress to stop the exchange of lethal weapons and narcotics at the U.S.-Mexican border and expressed his disapproval of the Arizona immigration law.   
 
"Let us work together to end this lethal trade," said Calderon, urging members of Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban. The 1994 ban that made it illegal to own or possess a semi-automatic riffle expired in 2004. U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a New York Democrat, introduced a bill in 2007 to reinstate the ban, but it has yet to make it out of a House subcommittee. Calderon said the flow of weapons from the United States into Mexico has contributed to an increase in gang violence in areas around the border. 
 
Calderon acknowledged a need for comprehensive immigration reform in the United States but criticized the controversial Arizona law that would require illegal immigrants to carry their registration papers at all times. "It is a law that not only ignores the reality¬but also introduces a terrible idea of racial profiling," said Calderon. "I agree with President to say the new law carries a great amount of risk to core values." 
 
Calderon said that illegal immigration is a serious problem for Mexico. "My government does not favor the breaking of the rules," he said. "I fully respect the right of any country to enact and enforce its own laws." 
 
He encouraged members of Congress to  "fix a broken and inefficient system" and suggested the United States and Mexico work together to create more jobs for Mexicans in their home country to discourage migration.  
 
Calderon referred to Mexico more than once as a country "undergoing deep transformations." He pointed to job growth and the upcoming Cancún climate change talks as evidence of Mexico's determination to be a competitive nation. "Mexico will one day be the country where [Mexicans] find the opportunities they [now] look for outside the country," he said.  
 
Calderon's address to Congress today concludes his two-day stay in Washington.