Mexicans meddling in U.S. affairs

Friday, October 4, 2002

Mexicans seeking more work on immigration

Two nations' priorities called 'incompatible'

By Tim Steller

A delegation of Mexican senators visiting Tucson Thursday expressed disappointment that another international crisis has displaced immigration issues on the American agenda.

Mexico's importance on the Bush administration agenda now stems from the fact that Mexico has a vote on the United Nations Security Council, said Sen. Leticia Burgos Ochoa of Guerrero state.

"It's worrisome that while our congress and the Mexican government is fighting for a bilateral immigration accord, the United States is worried about seeing if Mexico will support the war against Iraq," she said.

The two countries' priorities, she said, "are incompatible."

Burgos Ochoa was one of five members of the Mexican Senate's Human Rights Committee who joined the national human rights commissioner in a three-day tour of Arizona. On Wednesday, the group stopped in Phoenix and today they are planning to go to Sasabe, Sonora, to visit the border before returning to Phoenix for a flight to Mexico City.

Members of many Southern Arizona human rights groups addressed the delegation in meetings at the Doubletree Hotel. The groups included the Arizona Border Rights Coalition, Humane Borders, BorderLinks and the Pima County Interfaith Council. The senators also met with U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton.

Miguel Sanchez Carreño, a senator from Oaxaca state who chairs the human rights committee, said Americans should not associate immigration with national security problems.

"We believe that security, on the contrary, will be strengthened if the migrants' status is legalized," said Sanchez Carreño.