Mexico’s Immigration Law: Let’s Try It Here at Home

jwaller | May 08, 2006

Mexico has a radical idea for a rational immigration policy that most Americans would love. However, Mexican officials haven’t been sharing that idea with us as they press for our Congress to adopt the McCain-Kennedy immigration reform bill.

That’s too bad, because Mexico, which annually deports more illegal aliens than the United States does, has much to teach us about how it handles the immigration issue. Under Mexican law, it is a felony to be an illegal alien in Mexico.

At a time when the Supreme Court and many politicians seek to bring American law in line with foreign legal norms, it’s noteworthy that nobody has argued that the U.S. look at how Mexico deals with immigration and what it might teach us about how best to solve

our illegal immigration problem. Mexico has a single, streamlined law that ensures that foreign visitors and immigrants are:

The law also ensures that:

Who could disagree with such a law? It makes perfect sense. The Mexican constitution strictly defines the rights of citizens — and the denial of many fundamental rights to non-citizens, illegal and illegal. Under the constitution, the Ley General de Población, or

General Law on Population, spells out specifically the country’s immigration policy.

It is an interesting law — and one that should cause us all to ask, Why is our great southern neighbor pushing us to water down our own immigration laws and policies, when its own immigration restrictions are the toughest on the continent? If a felony is a

crime punishable by more than one year in prison, then Mexican law makes it a felony to be an illegal alien in Mexico.

If the United States adopted such statutes, Mexico no doubt would denounce it as a manifestation of American racism and bigotry.

We looked at the immigration provisions of the Mexican constitution. [1] Now let’s look at Mexico’s main immigration law.

Mexico welcomes only foreigners who will be useful to Mexican society:

Mexican authorities must keep track of every single person in the country:

Foreigners with fake papers, or who enter the country under false pretenses, may be imprisoned:

Foreigners who fail to obey the rules will be fined, deported, and/or imprisoned as felons:

Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony. The General Law on Population says,

Mexicans who help illegal aliens enter the country are themselves considered criminals under the law:

All of the above runs contrary to what Mexican leaders are demanding of the United States. The stark contrast between Mexico’s immigration practices versus its American

immigration preachings is telling. It gives a clear picture of the Mexican government’s agenda: to have a one-way immigration relationship with the United States.

Let’s call Mexico’s bluff on its unwarranted interference in U.S. immigration policy. Let’s propose, just to make a point, that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) member nations standardize their immigration laws by using Mexico’s own law as a model.

This article was first posted at CenterforSecurityPolicy.org.


1. “Mexico’s Glass House,” Center for Security Policy Occasional Paper, April 3, 2006.