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A Mexican government official has threatened to use international courts to block an Arizona law meant to limit public benefits and voting rights to legal residents of the U.S.
Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez said in a radio interview Wednesday that an international strategy would be used if other attempts to reverse Proposition 200 fail, the Associated Press reported.
“We are seeking all the legal opportunities that exist, first using the legal capacities of the United States itself and … if that does not work, bringing it to international tribunals,” AP quotes Derbez as saying.
Mexican officials have repeatedly complained about Proposition 200, which went into effect Tuesday. The statewide measure denies most taxpayer benefits to illegal aliens and requires state workers to report applicants for such benefits who may not be eligible. It also requires anyone registering to vote in the state to show proof of citizenship and bring a government-issued ID to the polling place.
AP reported Derbez expressed regret that, according to polls, about 40 percent of Mexican-Americans in Arizona supported Prop. 200. The measure passed with 60 percent of the vote.
“It’s sad, and it gives an idea of how we have to work to educate even our own Mexican-Americans about why it is important that these proposals are not accepted,” Derbez said.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund has challenged Prop. 200, saying it is “an illegal, impermissible, unconstitutional state attempt to regulate immigration policy, which is a fundamental function and responsibility of our federal government. Proposition 200 is mean-spirited and un-American.”
(Posted on January 28, 2005)