Chris Hawley, Arizona Republic (Phoenix), Mar. 16
MEXICO CITY — Anti-immigrant sentiment appears to be growing in the United States, Mexican President Vicente Fox said Wednesday, and he urged U.S. officials to act quickly to control movements like the 950-member-strong Minuteman Project on the Mexico-Arizona border.
Fox said he plans to push for U.S. immigration reform during a meeting with President Bush in Texas next week. He also said the two leaders, along with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, likely will announce a plan to expand the scope of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission recently issued a warning about several new grass-roots movements inspired by Arizona’s Proposition 200. Other Mexican officials have cited the Minuteman Project, a plan by activists to patrol the Arizona-Mexico border during April, as a sign of rising extremism.
“There are signs of these kinds of problems present today, and (they are) progressing,” Fox said during a news conference for foreign reporters. “We have to act quickly and on time to prevent these kinds of actions.”
He said Mexico was watching the Minuteman Project carefully and would take action in U.S. courts or international tribunals if any of the activists break the law.
“We totally reject the idea of these migrant-hunting groups,” Fox said. “We will use the law, international law and even U.S. law to make sure that these types of groups, which are a minority . . . will not have any opportunity to progress.”
Fox also harshly criticized the construction of walls along the border, including a new “triple fence” planned for the San Diego area.
“We are convinced that walls don’t work. They should be torn down,” he said. “No country that is proud of itself should build walls. No one can isolate himself these days.”