The Tar Pit

Friday, January 28, 2005

Mexico may seek international authority
for illegal aliens against Proposition 200

Chris Hawley from the Arizona Republic's Mexico City Bureau reports today:

MEXICO CITY - Mexican officials said Thursday they may complain to an international human rights tribunal if U.S. courts fail to overturn Arizona's Proposition 200.

Human rights experts said such a complaint likely would have little legal impact, since courts have limited power over the United States, but that it could be a diplomatic embarrassment for the United States.

A foreign ministry spokesman on Thursday confirmed comments about the case made by Luis Ernesto Derbez, Mexico's top diplomat, during a radio show earlier this week. "We are looking at all legal means in the United States, and if that fails, we could look to an international body - that was the context," said spokesman Edgar Trujillo.


Derbez says the law could encourage racial discrimination. He has said that the Mexico is helping activists. "We are . . . first using the legal capacities of the United States itself and . . . if that does not work, bringing it to international tribunals," the Associated Press quoted Derbez as saying in the radio interview.

It is unclear whether a ruling by an international tribunal would have any impact.

There are only a few international courts, and their jurisdiction and power over countries is limited, said James Ross, senior legal adviser for New York-based Human Rights Watch.

But Mexico could bring the issue to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, a group of countries that condemns human rights violations, said James Anaya, a professor of human rights law at the University of Arizona.

Ironically (for Mexico), in another story Hawley reports this from Mexico City:

Mexico itself has similar regulations [to Proposition 200]. Here, government agencies require foreigners to present their residential visas when applying for everything from driver's licenses to social security cards.

The Federal Elections Institute requires all Mexicans to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote.

Clear and Present has a great post on Mexico's efforts to globalize against the Constitutional authority of one of the United States:

This is it. Fighting words. Where the rubber hits the road. Call it what you like, but if there's anything behind this idiot's statement, it could be the ultimate test of the sovereignty of the United States. It couldn't be more black and white; it couldn't be more important. The day we let international courts interfere with laws set by Americans in America is the day the game is over, and we might as well forget about everything we've worked for, everything we've fought for, for the past two and a quarter centuries. The insane opinion of Supreme Court Justices Breyer and O'Connor -- that we should take into account other nations' laws when setting our own -- is nothing compared to this lunacy -- that foreign courts should be allowed to make or undo our on laws. --Mike

An earlier AP story this week has this tidbit about the disappointment of Luis Ernesto Derbez:

He expressed regret that, according to polls, about 40 percent of Mexican-Americans in Arizona had supported the measure.

"It's sad and it gives an idea of how we have to work to educate even our own Mexican-Americans about why it is important that these proposals are not accepted," Derbez said.

Here's a great response from Walking on the Right:

Mr. Derbez characterizes legal Mexican Americans who voted for Prop. 200 as "sad", I personally think it is refreshing and very telling that "legal" Mexian-Americans understands the problems related to illegal immigration and that 40 percent of them voted for Prop. 200. These are people that became legal citizens through the proper channels and contribute to the United States as every other citizen.

Mr. Derbez even characterizes illegal immigrants as "Mexican-Americans". As if every citizen of Mexico is automatically a citizen of the United States. It is nice to see Mr. Derbez and his ilk shaking in their boots finally. They have finally lost some ground in their quest for open boarders and their only recourse is to go whine to the international community.

Open borders politicians in the Democrat and Republican parties ought to take note that law-abiding Americans of Mexican heritage do not vote as a monolithic bloc with illegal alien swing vote.

Discarded Lies, Flopping Aces, Logic and Sanity, My View, and ,A Face Made 4 Radio, A Voice Made 4 the Internet have also blogged on Mexico's threat to take Proposition 200 to an international court.

This isn't the first time Mexico has moved against the United States in the International Court of Justice, with a ready supply of Mexican politicians like Presidente Vicente Fox, it won't be the last.

Mexico is increasingly building an alliance with the European Union's Council of Europe. Last year Mexico and the COE issued the Sonora Declaration which included these highlights:

5. The participants acknowledged the rights of all nations to establish their immigration policies and to safeguard their borders, as well as the right of any person to leave his/her country in order to find better opportunities of livelihood.

8. The parliamentarians acknowledged the role played by remittances of funds as engine of local and national development, as well as in family income. The Mexican case, where last year, remittances of funds amounted to over thirteen billion US dollars, was emphasized. The parliamentarians expressed their opinion against any type of taxation imposed on such remittances.

10. The parliamentarians agreed that migration must not be associated with terrorism, an activity which, whatever its underlying causes, strikes against fundamental human rights, undermining peace, democracy and coexistence of the international community.

11. The Forum's participants discussed international legal instruments geared to face the migratory phenomenon. They took note of the Recommendations of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the protection of migrants, as well as the agreements and resolutions submitted by the Mexican Senate. They welcomed the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Migrants and their Families, as the appropriate legal framework for defending undocumented migrant workers. The participants hoped that it would be ratified by the Parliaments of a larger number of Nations.

So, according to Mexico and the European Union, all people everywhere have a fundamental right to become illegal aliens and send portions of their illegal wages back across violated borders, tax free.

Ain't that nice?

Here is the U.N.'s International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

Though the U.S. is not a signatory, Mexico is, and the scope of Article 1 is breathtaking:

1. The present Convention is applicable, except as otherwise provided hereafter, to all migrant workers and members of their families without distinction of any kind such as sex, race, colour, language, religion or conviction, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, nationality, age, economic position, property, marital status, birth or other status.

2. The present Convention shall apply during the entire migration process of migrant workers and members of their families, which comprises preparation for migration, departure, transit and the entire period of stay and remunerated activity in the State of employment as well as return to the State of origin or the State of habitual residence.

Keep in mind that this U.N. Convention is held as the "appropriate legal framework for defending undocumented migrant workers" by the Sonora Declaration, which was recently reaffirmed in Mexico City (with Vicente Fox in attendance) by outgoing Council of Europe Chair Peter Scheider:

Geography alone does not guarantee that values are translated into practice. These values have to be actively protected and strengthened as they are not just trivial activities but the purpose of our existence in the 46 member States of the Council of Europe, as well as in Mexico, one of our observer States.

This purpose, Mr President, is what your representatives share when they address our Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg. I know that they raise quite a variety of issues which are very close to us, such as the jurisdiction of international courts, migration and the rights of regular or irregular migrants, trafficking of human beings, transatlantic relations, cultural and architectural heritage, the protection of cultural possessions or the global economic development and international free trade.

At our last session, Mr Margain reminded our members of the drawbacks of globalisation, such as extreme poverty, organised crime, terrorism or extreme materialism. A more human face to economic development should be sought, he said.

You will agree that these are only a few concerns we share, and I will certainly not forget the importance Mexico attaches to co-operating with our Organisation in the fight against terrorism and on the abolition of the death penalty, which are common priority areas of concern. This commitment was reinforced by the President of the Mexican Senate who addressed the Assembly in 2003.

Not only does your delegation make the long journey to Strasbourg very often, but your Parliament has also sent many invitations to our Committees, which were able to organise meetings and colloquies with your help here in Mexico. I can assure you that all your guests have highly benefited from their visits and gained positive experience. Each meeting in Mexico gives a new impetus for future work.

One example is the Sonora Declaration, which was adopted at the Euro-Mexican parliamentary Forum on Migration, co-organised by our Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population and the Mexican Senate in March 2004. The Forum clearly showed that common reflection and action regarding the challenge of achieving an orderly and safe migration are needed and of mutual benefit. This declaration also took up the question of improving the rights of irregular migrants – an important issue for many Mexicans living in the USA and also a human rights issue for Europe.

The inclination of the European Union to assert supranational authority forcing unwanted immigration on nations that are unaware of their diminishing sovereignty shouldn't be underestimated. Take the example this week of the United Kingdom:

Europe's intervention in what has become a major issue in the election campaign took Westminster aback. MPs and officials were unaware of how much national sovereignty on immigration and asylum had been transferred to Brussels.

The Conservative leadership responded by saying that a Tory government would immediately opt out of the new rules. If that were blocked, it would insist on renegotiation to allow Britain to determine its own asylum and immigration policies.

Mr Howard had earlier denied that he was "playing the race card" by putting proposals for strict controls on immigration at the heart of the Tory campaign. He said that immigration was out of control and that the country could not absorb the "millions" more who wanted to come here. Firm but fair controls were essential for good community relations and national security.

A Tory government would set an annual limit to immigration, including a quota for asylum seekers. It would introduce legislation to give the home secretary power to order the removal of bogus asylum seekers.

Within hours the European Commission said that Mr Howard was too late.

The qualifications directive establishes a binding EU definition of who is a refugee. It has been adopted by Britain and other EU governments and comes into full force in September next year, regardless of who wins the election expected in May.

Its definitions are drawn from the UN convention but expand on and reinforce the rather vague clauses of the 1951 treaty. It offers additional protection to asylum seekers fleeing civil wars and lifts its definitions for such cases wholesale from the European convention on human rights.

Friso Roscam Abbing, the chief spokesman for the EU justice commissioner, Franco Frattini, said that in 1997 Britain had negotiated a sweeping opt-out on questions of immigration. But in recent years, as the EU drew up a common asylum policy, the Government explicitly opted into the negotations. It had signed every directive to date.

"There is nothing in these protocols that allows a British government to opt back out again," Mr Roscam Abbing said. "So Britain is bound by them." Nor would a Conservative government be able to set quotas for the number of refugees accepted each year.

"Say they set a quota of 10,000 a year," Mr Roscam Abbing said. "Well, the 10,001st case could say to a British judge, `Your government is bound by EU rules and is not at liberty not to consider my claim,' "

A rolling wave of protocols and directives - one in force, one coming next month, a third next year and a fourth in 2007 - have overridden national laws on where governments keep asylum seekers, how they treat them, and how many appeals they are allowed.

If a future British government were to enact laws that contravened EU regulations, the commission would begin "infringement proceedings". Those would be followed, if resistance continued, by legal action in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

When The Telegraph told David Davis, the shadow home secretary, he said: "We had a pretty good idea we would have to renegotiate because the Blair Government has been opting into more EU asylum policies."

Currently Mexico lacks the mechanisms over the Americans that Belgium appears to hold over the U.K, but the plight of the Brits should serve as a cautionary note that infringements on national sovereignty can come on many flanks.