Latin-American parliaments condemn Arizona migration law

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The heads of eight Latin-American parliaments on Wednesday signed a declaration condemning the US state of Arizona's controversial immigration law, describing it as "racist and xenophobic."

The declaration -- signed by Mexico, Ecuador, Uruguay, Panama, Bolivia, Guatemala, Cuba and Chile -- was read to journalists by Mexico's Senate President Carlos Navarrete on the sidelines of the World Conference of the Speakers of Parliaments.

"We regret the racist and xenophobic nature of this law which goes against immigration in general and illegal immigrants in particular," said the declaration.

The Arizona law, due to take effect on July 29, makes it a crime to be in the state, which borders Mexico, without proper immigration papers.

It also requires local police, who are not federal agents responsible for immigration matters, to determine if people are in the country legally. Many critics charge that will fuel ethnic profiling.

The US government has filed a suit against Arizona in a bid to block the disputed law slammed by President Barack Obama's administration as abusive and divisive.

"It's an absurd law, which goes against the current times. Those who talk about defending globalisation, free markets and human liberties are criminalising migratory movements," said Ecuadoran representative Rolando Panchana.

© 2010 AFP

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