Saturday, 14 May 2011

Mexico criticizes new U.S. anti-immigration law

Mexico Friday criticized the U.S. state of Georgia for approving legislation targeting illegal immigrants.

"It criminalizes migration and opens spaces for the possible misapplication of the law by local officials," Mexico's foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said the U.S. lawmakers and the governor "ignored the numerous contributions of the immigrant communities to the economy and society of that state."

Georgia state governor Nathan Deal signed the legislation, known as SB 87, into law on Friday. He said the new rules were meant to save tax dollars and allow local officials to act on migration matters that have not been addressed by the U.S. federal government.

The new law allows law enforcement officers to inquire about a suspect's immigration status and imposes penalties on those transporting or hiring illegal immigrants.

However, similar legislation approved last year in Arizona has been partially suspended by a U.S. court.

Millions of Mexicans have immigrated to the United States in search of better economic opportunities, but the number of Mexicans heading north has fallen over the past five years.

The National Institute of Geography and Statistics (INEGI) recently reported that an average of 145,000 Mexicans have left the country annually over the past five years, compared with an annual figure of 450,000 for 2000-2005.

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