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Mexico joins Ariz. lawsuit

The government of Mexico today formally joined a lawsuit in federal court challenging Arizona's new immigration law, saying that the highest levels of the Mexican government have grave concerns about it.

"Each day, approximately 65,000 Mexicans are admitted into Arizona; and each day they spend an average of $7.35 million in its stores, restaurants, and other businesses," says a friend-of-court brief filed by Mexico. But if the new law takes effect, "Mexican citizens will be afraid to visit Arizona for work or pleasure out of concern that they will be subject to unlawful police scrutiny and detention," the brief says.

The law creates "an imminent threat of state-sanctioned bias or discrimination, resulting not only in individual injury but also in broader social and economic harms to its citizens."

"Given the public rhetoric by the Arizona Governor and other state officials," the brief says, "Mexico is rightfully concerned for the civil rights of its citizens in Arizona." The law gives local police officers "carte blanche authority to stereotype and to rely on the popular perception that appearances and foreign-ness" are justifiable reasons to treat members of a targeted group differently, it says.

Mexico also argues that its relations with the United States on immigration, trade, and security depend on a consistent foreign policy, something that would be frustrated if states "establish their own requirements that conflict not only with each other but also with the efforts, priorities and commitments of the US federal government."

Mexico's friend-of-court brief is part of the lawsuit filed against the state by a coalition of civil rights and service organizations.