Washington (CNN) - Mexican President Felipe Calderon addressed two of America's most contentious political issues during a speech to the U.S. Congress Thursday, asking for a return of the assault weapons ban and blasting Arizona's controversial new immigration law as a "terrible" endorsement of racial profiling.
Calderon also reminded Americans of their role in the recent eruption of drug-fueled violence along the U.S.-Mexican border, noting the high demand for illegal drugs in the United States. At the same time, he highlighted a series of economic reforms undertaken by his administration, arguing that they are helping to position Mexico for a period of greater growth and social stability.
"Mexico and the United States are stronger together than they are apart," he told a joint meeting of Congress. "Our economic ties have made both economies stronger. ... A stronger Mexico means a stronger United States."
Calderon is the second Mexican head of state to address Congress in the past decade, following President Vicente Fox in 2001. His appearance came on the heels of Wednesday's high-profile meeting and state dinner with President Barack Obama at the White House.
The contentious issue of Arizona's immigration law has been a key issue for Calderon during his U.S. visit. The measure, which will allow law enforcement officers to ask for proof of legal residency of anyone who is being investigated for a crime or a possible legal infraction, has drawn widespread criticism in Mexico.
"I strongly disagree" with the measure, Calderon told members of the House and Senate. "It is a law that not only ignores a reality that cannot be erased by decree," but also introduces the "terrible idea" that racial
profiling is acceptable.
Calderon also had a message for undocumented Mexican migrants currently in the United States: "I want to say to the migrants - all those who are working really hard for this great country - that we admire them, we miss them, (and) we are working hard for their rights ... (and) for their families," he said.
Calderon pointed out that Mexico has created more than 400,000 jobs so far in 2010 - the highest, he claimed, ever generated in a four-month period in his country. He said he is hopeful that an aggressive economic reform agenda - including pension reform and greater infrastructure investment - would eventually persuade more Mexicans to pursue opportunities closer to home.
"I'm not a president who likes to see Mexicans leave our country, leaving for opportunities abroad," he said. "Mexico will one day be a country where our people will find the opportunities that today they look for outside of the country."
Until then, he said, it is the responsibility of both the American and the Mexican governments to repair a "broken, inefficient" immigration system. He called on Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform law, arguing that it is a crucial component of a more secure border.
Turning to the explosion of drug-related violence, the Mexican leader asserted that his government is working to "firmly establish the rule of law."
It is deploying "the full force of the state" against organized crime, he declared.
"Restoring public security will not be easy and will not be quick. It will take time ... (and) will take human lives as well," he said. But this is "a battle that has to be fought." Drug violence claimed 6,500 lives in Mexico
last year. Officials say that roughly 90 percent of the cocaine that is smuggled into the United States moves through Mexico, which is also a gateway for marijuana and other illegal drugs.
Calderon pointed out that the challenge to Mexican security has "roots on both sides of the border." He cited the high rates of consumption of illegal drugs in the United States, and praised the Obama administration for its recent initiative to lower demand.
He also urged Congress to reimpose the assault weapons ban, asserting that violence in Mexico spiked after the ban was lifted in 2004. Mexican authorities in recent years have seized 45,000 weapons that could be traced to the United States, he said, and there are now roughly 7,000 gun shops along the U.S. border with Mexico where assault weapons can be easily acquired.
Saying he respects the U.S. Constitution and understands "the purpose of the Second Amendment," he added, "believe me - many of these guns are not going to honest American hands."
"Today these weapons are aimed by the criminals ... at Mexican civilians and authorities," he said. "With all due respect, if you do not regulate the sale of these weapons in the right way," American authorities and civilians may be soon face a similar challenge.
Maybe if he would improve the work conditions in Mexico,he would not have a problem. How about a trade off, we ban assualt weapons and he stops the drugs comming in from Mexico?
I think calderon, should leave this country and take pelosi, reid and nobamby with him. Along the way, they can pick up the UN and send them somewhere else also. Time to dump the trash.
The 2nd amendment right-wingnuts are going to be up in a frenzy about this. But I agree 100% with pres. Calderon. Who goes hunting with a M-4 or an Kalishnikov assualt rifle? Oh, I forgot. The killer from Wasilla does.
Hey – Calderon – How about your secure your border to traffic going BOTH ways. That'd eleminate both countries' problems......
This is all the more reason to LEGALIZE MARIJUANA! We also need to control our borders better!
Well since the election and the way the NRA hustled everyone into believing "Obama's gon' take yer guns", I wonder how much they made of the backs of "good Americans" when the prices of weapons and ammo went up........and the lie that was spread that "Obama's taxin' ammo" caused them to pay more for the hoarding of ammo for their revolution that's supposed to happen.
No guns! They will just get lost, stolen or sold! Don't further arm the drug dealers and their supporters. Marlene in Mich
You know Obama and the Dems love this. First is is a slap to America's face and secondly it opens the door for Obama to start apologizing for America the land which he hates.
For every buyer, there has to be a seller, To the extent Mr. Calderon wants the USA to ban assault rifles, why doesn't he just shoot to kill any and all of his countrymen and their families that possess an assault rifle. Our citizens can not be held liable for the management shortcomings of the Mexican government. However, some of the same logic must be applied to our country when our citizens buy illegal drugs. Maybe we should just just make illegal drugs legal.
Maybe its time we start enforcing immigration like Mexico does.
Believe me folks, Arizona's new immigration law looks like a jay-walking ticket in comparison with Mexixo's immigration policies.
The Arizona law does not state that racial profiling is acceptable. Nor does it convey that meaning in any way. Calderon should go back to Mexico and take proper care of his people so they don't have to sneak into our country to support their families.
First this dude has asked for a continued ignorance of the law. Now this? Sorry man, most AMERICANS can't get much out of the Congress. What makes you think you can?
He said: I want to say to the migrants – all those who are working really hard for this great country – that we admire them, we miss them, (and) we are working hard for their rights ... (and) for their families," he said.
He admires law breakers and yet says he respects our constitution. Really?? Then he says he misses them! It appears to me, they are not missed enough!
We really need to stop the waves of illegal immigrants coming to this country. This country is in the path to become the United States of Mexico. I am a Latin descendant of Puertorricans which are blessed of being born with the American citizenship and I think every single person should enter to this country legally, and if they are not legally here they should be deported, as simple as that. The gates should be closed.
Hey. Calderon: Why don't you mind your own business and stop trying to tell us how to run our country? You sure as hell can't run yours.
How dare he come here and tell us how we are suppose to act ... talk about the stove calling the kettle black (or something like that). The lawlessness in Mexico, the arcane law that are on the books there (like jail time for illegal imagration), drug traffic, and not only does he blame us, but Obama apologizes to everyone for us. GOD, this President is such an ubleivebale LOSER. He makes you wish that George was back in there.
I don't think the cartels care where they get their guns from. Get real.
End the failed War on Drugs that has wasted so much time and taxpayer $ with no tangible end in sight. Instead we keep spending more and more and more $...and we can't build jails fast enough to keep up with the ever increasing prison population.
It just isn't worth it. Spend the $ on improving our schools, family counseling and defending the Mexican border.
Why don't somebody ask this "Third world clown of a figure-head" why he can't keep his own citizens from illegally entering our country and why they choose not to stay within Mexico's wonderful borders...But, he wants to come here and lecture us on our Laws...Remember the Alamo!
Why are we listening to this hypocrite. First his ludicrous comments on the new AZ law(Which by the way geniuses on the left is the same as the federal law READ IT AND COMPARE) and now telling us to ban assault weapons. Why don't you control your out of control country first before you start telling us what to do. By the way how funny is it that Janet Reno(I mean Napolitano) and Eric Holder criticized the AZ bill without reading it. TOO FUNNY!!!!
The guy has a lot of nerve chastising the US. His country does not permit non-citizens to own land and has strict immigration laws. It's a FELONY to be in Mexico illegally. But, no one should discriminate against the illegals from his country. Arizona is attempting to enforce the federal laws since the U.S. government obviously has no plans to enforce the laws. This is hyprocrisy beyond the politician's usual efforts at it.
OK, enough is ENOUGH! This dirtbag came to this country to insult us, attack our immigration laws, and NOW wants to tell us to outlaw some weapons because MEXICO can't deal with their own problems???!!! Of course, our liar-in-chief bows deeply and agrees with him.
In response, I say we should build a 100 foot wall the entire length of the southern border and station the National Guard on the other side with shooot-to-kill orders. Then round up every illegal alien in the country and send them to Mexico (since he believes in "migration"!) Not possible you say? ONLY because we refuse to even try.
This guy is as good at blaming the United States as Oblamer is.
Mr Calderon must be given to understand that he's not going to be allowed to solve his country's problems by abridging the rights of American citizens.
I strongly suggest that this man be sent home.
Oh come on - our bible-thumping, beer drinking, rednecks need that AK-47 to go squirrel huntng.
I agree 100%, assault rifles should be banned and the manufacturing should be stopped.
While there is plenty the US can do regarding our relations with Mexico, I feel Pres. Calderon really has no moral or other ground to stand on upon which he can tell the US what to do. Get control of your own country, these people are powerful because they have money and criminal cartels have been around long before there were assault weapons