Mark Stevenson, AP, Dec. 22, 2005
MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s federal Human Rights Commission acknowledged yesterday that the country mistreats many immigrants — mainly Central Americans — and uses some of the same methods on them that it opposes in the United States.
The admission comes as Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez called on Latin American countries to unite against an immigration enforcement bill passed Friday by the U.S. House of Representatives.
The bill proposes making illegal entry to the U.S. a felony and enlisting military and local law enforcement to help stop illegal entrants. Officials in Mexico City acknowledged that Mexico already does both.
“(Mexico’s) population law does include prison terms for illegally entering the country . . . and this is something that has been the subject of constant complaints,” said Mauricio Farah, a national inspector for the rights commission.
Article 123 of Mexico’s population law states that “foreigners illegally entering the country will be subject to punishment of up to two years in prison” and fines of up to $28,220. Such prison sentences are rarely imposed in practice.