Mexico’s president is lashing out over Texas law that would target migrants at the border

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Mexico’s president is lashing out over Texas law that would target migrants at the border

Mexico and America, immigration and the border

Patrick J McDonnell

March 20, 2024

Mexican President Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador on Wednesday promulgated a Texas law that would give state authorities broad powers to arrest foreigners suspected of crossing illegally from Mexico into Texas.

After a day of back-and-forth court rulings that left the law in effect for only a few hours, Mexico’s president blasted the Texas statute as inhumane and anti-Christian.

He stated that Mexico would not accept the return by Texas officials of migrants to Mexican territory, a position that casts doubt on how the state law would be enforced if approved by the court.

We would not accept deportations from the Texas government, Lpez Obrador said at his regular morning press conference, supporting a similar statement a day earlier from Mexico’s Foreign Ministry.

The Texas law would make illegal entry into Texas a state crime and direct judges to order undocumented migrants to return to Mexico.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court cleared the way for Texas to enforce the law while its constitutionality is challenged, but hours later a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, issued an order preventing that the law was passed. effect.

Another panel of the same court heard arguments Wednesday on whether the law known as SB 4 should take effect, if only temporarily.

The Mexican president declined to explain exactly how Mexico would respond if the law were enforced, but said: We will not sit with our arms folded.

He predicted no deterioration in relations with Washington and noted that the Biden administration is challenging the Texas law.

Mexico said international migration should remain a strictly federal matter, which the Justice Department is advocating in its efforts to have the Texas law declared unconstitutional.

Mexico will not engage in negotiations at the state level on an issue that is clearly federal, said Eunice Rendn, a columnist at El Universal newspaper in Mexico City who follows immigration issues.

The law could create future conflict with Texas, she noted, but it was unclear how the controversy will develop, especially as the law’s future remains in the hands of the courts.

Lpez Obrador labeled the Republican Party-backed measure as the product of anti-immigrant and anti-Mexican sentiment and lashed out at Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott without naming him.

The president compared the situation to

as the idea of

the Mexican state of Tamaulipas versus the Targeti region of Texas’ Rio Grande Valley



It is as if the governor of Tamaulipas applied a law against Texans who visited Mexico or passed through Tamaulipas,” Lpez Obrador said. Under our Constitution, anything related to foreign policy is not the responsibility of state governments.

The president’s comments were the latest in a litany of condemnations of Mexican officials. Many pointed out that the law has the potential to harm millions of people of Mexican descent, whether citizens, legal residents or undocumented people living in Texas, where about 40% of the population is Latino and most of Mexican descent.

The State Department said the law “could create hostile environments in which the migrant community is exposed to hate speech, discrimination and racial profiling.”

Foreign Minister Alicia Brcena denounced the country as anti-immigrant, xenophobic and discriminatory.

Some in Mexico saw the state law and its widespread Republican support as a sign of how tensions between the U.S. and Mexico could increase if Donald Trump were elected to a second term as U.S. president.

“This is an indication of what will happen in November if Trump and the Republican Party win the election,” Arturo Sarukhan, former Mexican ambassador to Washington, wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Both major presidential candidates competing in Mexico’s June 2 elections, Claudia Sheinbaum of the Morena presidential party and Xchitl Glvez Ruiz of an opposition coalition, went to X to denounce the Texas statute.

We always raise our voices in defense of Mexicans across the border, who largely support Texas’ economy, Sheinbaum wrote.

Glvez said: “The Mexican government must take strong action in defense of our compatriots and push for the annulment of this law, which attacks our brother and sister migrants.”

Mexico’s government strongly condemned the law on Tuesday after a divided Supreme Court said Texas could begin enforcing the law.

Mexico said it would not accept the return of migrants to its territory by Texas officials under any circumstances.

Under current law, the U.S. Border Patrol detains thousands of migrants every day, including Mexicans and others, and returns many to Mexico. But Mexico is only legally required to accept Mexican citizens.

Migrants detained after crossing the US-Mexico border now come from a wide range of countries, including countries in Central and South America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In the past, Mexico has voluntarily accepted some third-country migrants expelled from the United States. But it is not obliged to do so.

Times special correspondent Cecilia Sanchez Vidal contributed to this report.


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