US lawmakers proposed to build some 700 miles of barriers to stop illegal immigration from the South.
Sixteen years after the fall of the Berlin wall, another barrier of bricks is being fuelled to separate two nations and stop immigration. A proposal by U.S. lawmakers to build some 1,130 kilometers of barriers along their nation's southern border as part of efforts to stop illegal immigration has irritated Mexicans, who are seeking international support to block Washington's plans.
The Mexican Congress is asking legislatures in Spain, Portugal and Latin American countries to join a coalition against the US proposal. The request, backed by the Mexican President Vicente Fox, is contained in a letter drafted by the speaker of the Mexican lower house, Heliodoro Diaz.
"I hereby ask you, in an act of unity among Ibero-American Congresses, that you share our concern about and condemnation of (the U.S. wall), and that you express the deepest solidarity with the Mexican Congress, in order to impede the construction of a wall on the border of the United States of America with Mexico, and the approval of the law promoting it," says the missive.
On Dec. 16, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill that envisions building 700 miles of fences along the border with Mexico, makes illegal immigration a crime - it is currently a civil offense - and calls for prosecuting U.S. citizens who aid undocumented migrants.
Mexican authorities have expressed their concerns on the proposals, as if it is finally approved by the Senate, it could become a hot spot in what already is a key issue for the relations between both North American nations.
In his letter, Diaz expresses his respect for the legislative function of the United States Congress, but points out that the phenomenon of migration, for its social and economic effects, should be looked at in a comprehensive way within a bilateral framework.
"The aforesaid law, should it be approved, will result in highly negative effects for our countries, such as criminalizing migration, violating the human rights of migrants to that nation, exacerbating racism against minorities, and repudiating various agreements achieved through existing free-trade treaties," the document says.
Mexican Foreign Minister, Luis Ernesto Derbez, met Monday with the US Secretary of Commerce, Roberto Zoellick, to complain about the initiative. Derbez said the bill was “racist.” President Fox had said last week that the new wall was “a shame” and a “bad signal of the United States to Latin America.”
According to Human Rights groups, about 500 Latin American immigrants die annually in the US-Mexican border, many of them killed by US guards. Those immigrants looking for better conditions of life are only from Mexico but from close U.S. allies such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and other Central American nations.
If finally built, the wall will be the longest in world's history, not including the Chinese one in the list.
Photo: A section of the wall that already separates both countries