Friday, February 25, 2011

Mexican legislators back immigrants’ rights clauses

While numerous U.S. state legislatures are going out of their way to restrict immigration, Mexican legislators are leaning towards the other direction.

The Mexican senate approved a bill on immigration yesterday that dropped a number of restrictions against migrants and instead grant them greater rights. Amendments that would’ve permitted federal police to act as immigration agents and permitting authorities from receiving immigration complaints from anonymous sources were rejected by the upper house of congress.

That bill stated that “nobody should be declared illegal due to their migratory status and there should be sufficient guarantees in Mexico so that citizens of other countries” can freely travel the country. (To this extent the proposed bill established the creation of a special “transmigrant visa” for those who travel through Mexico en route to another country). The plan also recognized the rights of immigrants (legal and undocumented) to things such as health care, education and even “nutrition”.

The proposal, which was unanimously backed 86 Senators, now goes to the Chamber of Deputies for debate and a vote that could come as early as next week.

The draft bill was lauded by Mexican immigrants’ rights activists as fair and just towards migrants travelling from Central and South America. To those regions Mexico has "recovered its leadership, a leadership of acting like a big brother rather than as a superior” said father Alejandro Solalinde in a radio interview today.

The discussion over the bill comes as Mexico's National Human Rights Commission denounced the kidnappings of 11,000 migrants (mostly from Central America) during a six-month period last year.

Image- CNN Mexico (Some Central American migrants travel though Mexico via the freight rail system)
Online Sources- El Universal, El Informador, CBS News, Terra Peru, BBC News, The New York Times

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