In a visit last month, Mexican President Vicente Fox criticized American
immigration policy. In a Senate resolution that died in committee a few days
later, Senator Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta, returned the favor.
SCR 118 urged Mexico to reform its own immigration policies, which are far
more restrictive than those in the United States. It was treated like a hot
potato in the Senate Rules Committee on May 31. Sen. Jim Battin, R-La
Quinta, a co-author with Hollingsworth, voted for it. Colleague Roy Ashburn,
R-Bakersfield, abstained, as did one Democrat. Two Democrats voted against
it, killing the measure.
Hollingsworth said that the resolution was symbolic, and he never expected
or even wanted to the measure to make it to the Senate floor.
“This is to point out the hypocrisy of Mexico’s statements,” Hollingsworth
said. He added, “There is not a lot we can do without backing of the federal
The source of that “hypocrisy” lies in Mexico’s 1917 constitution. While it
does include one of the same controversial clauses as the U.S.
Constitution–that anyone born on the country’s soil is automatically granted
citizenship–those not born in the country face severe restrictions that
immigrants to the United States do not.
For instance, Article 33 states that foreigners may be deported without any
legal recourse: “Federal Executive shall have the exclusive power to compel
any foreigner whose remaining he may deem inexpedient to abandon the
national territory immediately and without the necessity of previous legal
action.” It also states that, “Foreigners may not in any way participate in
the political affairs of the country.”
Mexicans are also legally given priority over foreigners for employment.
Even naturalized foreigners cannot serve in the military; they also lose
their Mexican citizenship if they move back to their “country of origin” for
over five years.
In one of the more unusual clauses, Mexican women do not have the same power
to confer citizenship to their husbands via marriage as Mexican men enjoy.
Article 30, section B-II, grants naturalization to “a foreign woman who
marries a Mexican man.” There is no matching clause for Mexican women and
According to a fact sheet distributed by Hollingsworth’s office, “Mexico
routinely fills 10 or 12 buses a day with undocumented Central Americans,”
deporting 240,000 last year alone. It claims Mexico has legalized only
15,000 migrants in the past five years.
Meanwhile, it said, “Mexico has been demanding that the U.S. ignore, alter
or abolish its own immigration laws,” even while illegally immigrating into
Mexico is a felony. It added that, “Migrants in the United States have held
huge demonstrations demanding more rights.”
In his California appearances, President Fox called for a “new system” to
facilitate movement of people across the border. He also said that efforts
by U.S. hardliners to curtail immigration threaten the relationship between
the two countries.