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State Laws on Immigration Creating Strains Across U.S. Borders

This blog recently reported on the potential introduction of an immigration bill in Florida similar to that passed in Arizona. The Arizona law was presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council on November 5. Ecuador Ambassador Luis Gallegos says they are concerned the law will increase stereotyping of immigrants whether the immigrants are legally or illegally in the country.

Arizona's anti-immigration law has been taken up on appeal in federal court as reported in this blog. Ten Latin American countries signed on to an Amicus brief in that federal lawsuit. The Latin American countries say the impact from the Arizona law could harm "bilateral economic, immigration and security policies" between Latin America and the U.S.

It is becoming more apparent that the Arizona law has put a strain on relations with countries outside the United States. The outcome of the federal lawsuit, that is expected to someday be heard before the United States Supreme Court, may have a far more reaching impact than that perceived within the borders of the United States.

Roughly a dozen state legislatures reportedly will consider similar measures in the near future, including Florida. Latin American countries say the law in Arizona harms their citizens residing in Arizona.

Charles Luoma-Overstreet, a spokesman for the State Department says the law is becoming a topic of discussion "in all our interactions" with all the Latin American countries that joined in opposition to the Arizona immigration law. Mauricio Cardenas, at the Brookings Institution, says Latin American countries are "perceiving some distance and disengagement from the U.S."

In the past decade the U.S. has increased the number of Customs and Border Patrol agents from 9,000 to 20,000. The United States has deported more that 392,000 people in fiscal year 2010, a record number according to Homeland Security.

Source: USA Today, "Ariz. Immigration law impacts US-Latin America relations," Alan Gomez, 16 Nov 2010

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