The president of Mexico's lower house of Congress is asking legislatures throughout Latin America to condemn a U.S. proposal to extend walls along the Mexican border and tighten border enforcement, in a letter send Monday. Congressman Heliodoro Diaz called on other congresses to join what he called "an act of unity among Ibero-American legislatures to share our concern and condemnation ... so as to prevent the construction of a wall on the U.S. border."
"This law, if it is approved, would cause extremely negative effects for our countries," Diaz wrote in the letter, which his office said was sent to leaders in "many" Latin American countries, Spain and Portugal.
A bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 16 would build more border fences to keep out people, which already exist at some points, make illegal entry a felony and enlist military and local police to help stop undocumented migrants. The U.S. Senate is expected to take up the matter in February.
Mexico has bitterly opposed the House bill, and Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez vowed to bring up the issue during a trip to Washington, where he met on Monday with Robert Zoellick, the U.S. State Department's No. 2 official.
U.S. State Department spokesman Justin Higgins said Derbez and Zoellick discussed subjects of common interest between Mexico and the United States.
Rafael Laveaga, spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington, told reporters the "meeting was very cordial" and an opportunity for Derbez and Zoellick "to talk about the Mexican stand in the migrants issue, and other Latin American affairs as well." Derbez did not plan to meet with U.S. lawmakers, according to the Mexican Embassy in Washington.
Supporters of the House measure say it is needed to protect U.S. security and limit undocumented migration. Diaz's letter acknowledged that the proposed law "is a sovereign act of the legislature of the United States," but noted that it would "criminalize immigration and hurt the human rights of those who emigrate,” reports the AP. I.L.