Column: Mexico and its double standards

The Miner recently conducted a readership poll about forming a state militia, and by the comments posted by certain bloggers, it shows that many people still believe there isn't a problem with illegal aliens crossing into the United States.

Some even think individuals who volunteer as militiamen on the Mexico-U.S. border are right-wing radicals out to commit legalized murder of all migrants sneaking across the border for a better quality of life.

Granted, most illegal aliens crossing into the U.S. from Mexico, Central America, South America and other countries that are not even on this continent are fleeing oppression, chronic unemployment, poverty and little or no opportunities in their homelands.

But everyone must realize that there is an unsavory category of individuals sneaking across the border as well. I guess many of the bloggers have forgotten that criminals, such as drug dealers, are illegally entering the U.S. to conduct their reign of terror, and there have been multiple cases of individuals entering our country illegally with the clear intention of engaging in terrorist activity.

According to a memo from the Department of Homeland Security recently leaked to various law enforcement agencies throughout the Southwest, assassins are being hired by drug cartels in an effort to improve drug trafficking through Arizona. The memo goes on to indicate that various drug cartels met in Rocky Point, Mexico, and outlined a plan to send 15 highly-armed assassins disguised as drug smugglers into the drug-trafficking corridor in Pinal County.

If the assassins are approached by individuals who want to steal their illegal booty, the assassins have orders to kill them. There are also other incidents in which drug cartel employees have kidnapped and killed U.S. citizens in Arizona and other states. The line that is the Mexico-U.S. border means nothing to drug dealers.

So everyone's argument that only peace-loving aliens are coming across the border illegally is untrue. As a matter of fact, many of the illegal aliens heading into the United States, even the ones looking for work, have criminal backgrounds.

Yes, there has been a giant wave of protests and opposition on both sides of the border over Arizona's SB 1070 that went into effect July 29, and it includes the United States government, which filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, 1070 targets undocumented immigrants, better known as illegal aliens, and is the basis for the legalized combat between the federal government and state over the nation's toughest immigration crackdown.

But the biggest problem is the federal government. It has continually turned a blind eye to the epidemic of illegal aliens flooding into the U.S., and now because Arizona enacted a new immigration law, the U.S. government and some foreign leaders are screaming foul.

One of the biggest opposition leaders of 1070, besides President Barack Obama, is Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who voiced his concerns over Arizona's new immigration law and has publicly indicated his country would not stand by and allow a policy that infringed on basic human rights.

Calderon, speaking in Mexico City earlier this year, condemned the new law, saying it's, "... criminalizing immigration, which is a social and economic phenomenon, this way opens the door to intolerance, hate, discrimination and abuse in law enforcement." He went on to say, "My government cannot and will not remain indifferent when these kinds of policies go against human rights."

The Mexican foreign ministry, in a recent travel warning, said, "... it should be assumed that any Mexican citizen within the Arizona border of the U.S. could be stopped, bothered and questioned for no reason at any time."

What is interesting is that Calderon and his foreign ministry has conveniently forgotten how stringent Mexico's immigration laws are. They continually complain that Hispanic people will be stopped and harassed by law enforcement personnel in the U.S., but they never mention how U.S. citizens are treated south of the border.

If you have ever had an opportunity to travel to Baja California or into the interior of Mexico, I'll bet you have been stopped many times at the numerous police checkpoints. Every time you turn around, there is a checkpoint. In some cases, there are more police checkpoints than businesses for tourists to frequent.

Mexican Federal Police, or Federales, stop vehicles at checkpoints, they interrogate drivers and their passengers, and they search vehicles and people without a warrant. American citizens visiting Mexico have no rights according to the Mexican government. They only seem to tolerate Americans because of all of the money they spend in Mexico. There are even documented cases where American citizens have been "shaken down" by Federales or local police and relieved of all of their cash just to avoid going to jail on some trumped-up charge.

Mexico's laws that deal with illegal aliens are much more stringent than the U.S.'s and Arizona's could ever be. U.S. citizens traveling in Mexico without proper documents, work permits or non-immigrant visas are subject to arrest as illegal aliens.

Illegal entry into Mexico is equivalent to a felony punishable by two years' imprisonment. U.S. citizens who violate the terms of their visa may be sentenced to up to six years in prison. Evading deportation is a serious crime; illegal re-entry after deportation is punishable imprisonment for 10 years. If you are caught transporting illegal aliens (this even means someone in your family whose travel visa expired) you can be slammed into a Mexican prison for 12 years.

Mexico isn't the only country with stringent immigration laws. If you cross illegally into North Korea, you can be sentenced to 12 years of hard labor; Iran, you are detained indefinitely; Afghanistan, you get shot; Saudi Arabia, you will be jailed for an indefinite period of time; Venezuela, you will be branded a spy and you could be executed; Cuba, you will be thrown into a political prison to rot; and if you travel across the Chinese border illegally, no one may ever hear from you again. Furthermore, the Chinese government is now offering a 100 RMB (about $15 U.S. dollars) reward to encourage people to report foreigners living illegally in China.

There are a lot of people who believe the U.S. and especially Arizona are too harsh on the illegal aliens filtering into our country. They forget that when illegal aliens sneak into the U.S., they can get aide from the various government agencies, their children are allowed to attend public schools, and most of the time if they go to a hospital for medical attention, they never have to pay for it. They are a constant drain on the U.S. economy.

It is time for everyone to think about the double standards of punishments U.S. citizens endure if they enter a foreign country illegally or happen to do something the foreign governments don't approve of.