April 26, 2010 / 8:36 PM / 9 years ago

Mexican president slams Arizona immigration law

MEXICO CITY, April 26 (Reuters) - Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Monday slammed a tough new immigration law in the U.S. state of Arizona, which borders Mexico, saying it would breed hate and discrimination.

The law has raised fears that Hispanic immigrants could be racially profiled and reignited the hot-button political issue of immigration reform in the United States, which at times has touched off fierce criticism from some Latin American leaders.

“Criminalizing immigration, which is a social and economic phenomena, this way opens the door to intolerance, hate, and discrimination,” Calderon told a meeting with Mexican immigrant groups.

“My government cannot and will not remain indifferent when these kinds of policies go against human rights,” Calderon said, adding that he would bring up the new law when he meets with Obama next month during an official visit to Washington.

Arizona’s Republican governor signed a bill into law last week requiring police to determine whether people are in the country legally and allowing them to detain suspected illegal immigrants.

The toughest immigration law in the United States, it triggered a chorus of criticism from leaders of the Democratic party, including President Barack Obama.

The majority of the 11 million people believed to be living illegally in the United States are immigrants from Mexico, which shares a lengthy border with its northern neighbor and has been pushing for years for comprehensive U.S. reform to improve immigrant rights.

Set to take effect 90 days after the current legislative session adjourns, the law requires state and local police with “reasonable suspicion” to determine if people are in the country illegally. It also makes it a crime to transport illegal immigrants and hire day laborers off the street. (Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Writing by Kevin Gray; Editing by Catherine Bremer and Eric Walsh)

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