Thursday, April 29, 2010

Arizona, Mexico and Global Politics in Migration

The control of national borders has become a more complicated affair with globalization.  It is increasingly hard to justify a system in which capital can move freely across borders but labor cannot, and in which there is a unbreakable link between economic and political rights.  I have  the nature of some fo thes etensions before.  See, e.g., Larry Catá Backer, The Values of Free Movement: Lessons for Globalization From the E.U.’s Experience With Free Movement of Capital and Labor, Law at the End of the Day, Oct. 29, 2006; Larry Catá Backer, China and the New (Old) Citizenship: Overseas Chinese, "Soft" Citizenship and the Homeland, Law at the End of the Day, Sept. 27, 2007;  Larry Catá Backer, Amalgamating Global Labor on the Model of Global Capital: A Challenge to the ILO Framework, Law at the End of the Day, April 28, 2007.

These tensions show up in a variety of ways.  The most recent involves two neighboring jurisdictions, the State of Arizona and the United States of Mexico.  Each, in its own way has been seeking to take advantage in unregulated markets in labor and global human rights sensibilities centering on the human dignity rights of migrants. 

On the one hand, Mexico has severely criticized the State of Arizona for recent legislation providing broad powers to its police forces to control migration.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon has warned that relations with Arizona would suffer and that his country would use all means at its disposal to defend its people.
Under the new rules, those unable to show that they are legally allowed in the US could be given six-month jail sentences and fined $2,500 (about £1,600).
The law was signed by Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer, who said it "protects every American citizen". 
Mexico warns citizens over new Arizona immigration law, BBC News Online, April 27, 2010.  On the other hand, Mexico itself has become the object of intense scrutiny over its own conduct with respect to migrants within its national borders.   Amnesty International, Report:  Invisible Victims: Migrants on the Move in Mexico, AMR 41/014/2010, published April 28, 2010. The Report is also available in Spanish as: VÍCTIMAS INVISIBLES MIGRANTES EN MOVIMIENTO EN MÉXICO.

For a sense of the reaction by academics and civil society elements within the United States to the new Arizona legislation, see the valuable commentaries in the excellent blog--Nuestras Voces Latinas to which I contribute. For a discussion of the dueling criticisms of Arizona and Mexico, see Larry Catá Backer, Collateral Attacks: Amnesty International and Undocumented Immigration in and Through Mexico, Nuestras Voces Latinas, April 29, 2010. 

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