The Obama administration is deeply embarrassed by the legislators of Arizona. Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner, in discussions with representatives from China (China!), cited the Arizona law as evidence of human rights failures in the U.S. Doubling down, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley agreed that the law could pose a "fundamental challenge to human rights around the world."
At a joint press conference with Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon, who recently described the Arizona law as "violating the human rights of all people," President Obama delivered a message to "the American people and to the Mexican people" that his administration was taking a hard look at the "troubling" law. Calderon has issued a travel advisory to Mexicans, warning them to avoid Arizona lest they be, well, what exactly? Grabbed, hooded, hustled into a dark cell and never heard from again? Um, no, asked a few questions.
You might think Obama would find a way to make that point, tactfully of course, to our Mexican guest, rather than agreeing that the law amounts to "discrimination." But no, as on so many other occasions on the world stage, Obama finds himself in general agreement with our critics. If we embarrass him, the feeling is mutual.
Is the president aware that in Mexico, police are "required to demand that foreigners prove their legal presence in the country before attending to any issues"?
While the administration was fulminating about the horrific human rights violation the Arizona law represents, Amnesty International was issuing a report about Mexico's mistreatment of its own illegal migrants. "Migrants in Mexico are facing a major human rights crisis leaving them with virtually no access to justice, fearing reprisals and deportation if they complain of abuses," said Rupert Knox, Mexico Researcher at Amnesty International. "Persistent failure by the authorities to tackle abuses carried out against irregular migrants has made their journey through Mexico one of the most dangerous in the world."
The migrants, who are usually attempting to make their way through Mexico to the United States, suffer kidnappings for ransom, robbery, and rape. Mexico's National Human Rights Commission reports that nearly 10,000 were abducted over six months in 2009. Almost 50 percent of victims said that public officials were involved in their kidnapping. _Amnesty estimates that six out of 10 migrant women and girls experience sexual violence.