May 20th, 2010
01:16 PM ET
12 years ago

Calderon asks U.S. Congress for assault weapons ban

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Mexican President Felipe Calderon addressed two of America's most contentious political issues during a speech to the U.S. Congress Thursday."]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.

Filed under: Felipe Calderon
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. marty

    It's been reported that Russia has a factory in Venezuela makeing assault weapons. The weapons he complains about are illegal in this country so don't blame us for your communist criminals getting their guns here ! I'm disgusted with our crappy politicians that kiss obamas ass and clap for this communist mexican while he badmouths my country !

    May 20, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. Annie

    FIRST. The law does NOT introduce racial profiling and is nowhere in the law.
    Maybe if you brush up on your English you will be able to actually READ the law.
    SECOND. "Illegal" Immigrants have NO rights. They are not U.S. Citizens and should not be treated as U.S. Citizens.
    Third. If Mexico misses them so much, take them back with you on your way back home.
    FOURTH."Mexico will one day be a country where our people will find the opportunities that today they look for outside of the country."
    Someday, is today, take your people back home with you.
    FIFTH. "both the American and the Mexican governments to repair a "broken, inefficient" immigration system."
    We are repairing out "immigration system" by enforcing our laws and getting illegal immigrants out of America.
    SIXTH. "Mexico and the United States are stronger together than they are apart"
    No, Mexico is stronger, you're sucking the average American dry of money. Get out.

    MOST important, why the hell are you congressman supporting Mexico when your United States citizens are saying this is what we want, this is what we're telling you we want, hell we are demanding it. If you want to support Mexico, go be the Mexican President Obama, and if you congressman want to support mexico I suggest you go set up congress in Mexico.

    You have ALL lost my vote.

    May 20, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  3. Rick in OP

    President Calderon,
    No sir, you do not understand or respect the purpose of the Second Amendment. If you did understand it, then Mexican citizens would not be unarmed and defenseless against the terror campaign that is being waged upon them by the drug cartels.
    And by the way, I swear I cannot recall ever having seen a store in the U.S. that sells automatic weapons, hand grenades or rocket propelled grenades. These are the weapons that are being used against your police and soldiers by the cartels. Let me suggest to you that you should look and see how many of these weapons originated from your own police and military forces or were obtained from Central and South America.
    Based on what we have seen lately, you are apparently incapable of running your own country. Please do not come here and tell us how to run ours.

    May 20, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. Obama the liar

    Am i suppose to listen to this corrupt Mexican??? NEVER.

    May 20, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. MatthewDetroit

    Its great how some dirty illegal corrupt president of another country is even given a voice to speak in this country.
    Maybe that woose Barack should stand up and DEFEND the US instead of throwing us under the bus with Mexico.
    Mexian leadership is corrupt and they steal from their own people.
    He has border security issues of his own; yet he criticizes the US.

    The LAW in Arizona is NEEDED.
    Barack is just a corrupt politician trying to give illegal aliens and their supporters the right to vote and the power to influence our political proces.....

    You should be very concerned America.

    May 20, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. MatthewDetroit

    FUNNY how the Democrats inspire to follow the Leader of MEXICO....

    You are following a man who has ravaged his own country....

    They are BACKWARDS....

    May 20, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  7. jean

    Absolutely incredible that Calderon has the nerve to go before US Congress and say "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." This is utterly disgusting – what about the US laws and the rights of the American people?? This is the United States of America – undocumented illegal aliens are breaking our laws – they should not be protected or pitied or anything else – they should be arrested, deported or follow the law and get the appropriate documents to be in this country legally. I am not against immigration, as long as it is legal, I am against illegal immigration and immigrants that break the laws of this country. This has to stop and if the Federal Government will not take steps necessary to enforce the laws than states should have that right and I support Arizona and the plight they are faced with. I do not support the plight of illegal aliens who choose to break the laws of this country when coming into the country and who choose to willfully disregard the laws, ergo break them, when they choose to continue to stay here illegally. Breaking the law is breaking the law – plain and simple.

    May 20, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  8. Moderate

    Might want to band them in Mexico too, right?

    May 20, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  9. jenn, philadelphia

    It's nice he gets to criticize our government in our Congress. It's a shame his country doesn't allow the same kind of freedom of speech to it's non-citizens. Did he remember to tell our Congress how his country handles illegals? Probably not, since our laws aren't as harsh and it would just make his criticism sound foolish.

    May 20, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. JP

    We clearly need immigration reform. The reform should be a duplicate of Mexico's policy deport illegals and jail anyone who helps them. The first one in jail should be Obama.

    May 20, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  11. normajean

    There is too much to this problem for it to be solved without months and months of hard work on both sides of the border, but it sounds to me as though Mr. Calderon is expecting all of the "give' to come from the north .He blames the U.S. for most of the problem,for the guns and the fact that the drugs are bought here, but has nothing to say about the fault of Mexico in major transactions bringing money into his country.If he wants an assault weapon ban from our country, why don't we say we want a drugs ban from his.Seriously, how's that for fair play?

    May 20, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. Sgt. USMC

    I wonder how many people will make a reference about President Calderon's papers and if he is legal... I have heard it said about other latino celebrities on these blogs. That's the impact that this law has, it makes people too comfortable with harrassing people who are not in this country illegally.

    He is right about the weapons, they are being sold here in the US and taken to Mexico. We share some of the blame. Of course no anti-Obama dimwit in here will admit it but we have a hand in it. That's not a conspiracy theory either.

    May 20, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  13. bkbf

    I can't believe our anti-american president and congress stood up and clapped. We need to get these people out of our White House. Calderon has no business slamming our laws.

    May 20, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. honest abe

    typical mexican... blame someone else for your countries problems. did he take into account all of the illegal immigrants (20+ million) whom were already hooked on drugs that entered our country. so america is to blame for mexicos lack of jobs, drug dependancy, jungle warfare killings, corrupt police, corrupt gov't, human rights violating immigration policy, etc... when will the mexicans take responsibility for themselves??? i wish we bordered canada on both sides. MEXICO SUCKS!

    May 20, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  15. sonny chapman

    God inspired the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers enacted the 2nd Amendment. God wants all Americans to have assault rifles–and RPGs if your well trained militia need them.

    May 20, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. Nothing is too big to fail

    Calderon should take the blame for allowing his citizens to illegal invade another country because he can't provide their basic needs. He has no national pride and can't turn corruption around , so he depends on the U.S. to handle his social problems. Some leader he is........

    May 20, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. Dean

    Control your borders sir and it won't matter what is sold in the United States.

    May 20, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. rachel

    I wonder if our wonderful senators will say that any disagreements Mexico has with the U.S government should be made in private like they did when we criticized Israel. Also wonder how mexico treats citizens that cross their boarded illegally

    May 20, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. jeff jackson, alabama

    Calderon along with numerous other
    world leaders who hate America would
    love to disarm our citizens.
    Meanwhile he has groups in his country
    who are better armed than our armies

    May 20, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. jp,michigan

    What has the Mexican government done for the American people? What right does the President of Mexico have to judge our federal or state laws? It is sad that the Obama administration does not stand up for American citizens ( including Mexican legalized American citizens). The state of Arizona did what it needed to do to protect its American citizens, including the Mexican legalized citizen. Last year alone over 100 thousand Mexicans became legalized American citizens. What is the problems with the rest of them who snuck across the boarder? If you would read the Arizona bill , you would see only those stopped for an criminal act is asked for I.D., yet those who have not read it (including members of congress and Obama administration) are first to comment negatively on it.

    May 20, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. American against Illegals!

    Felipe Calderon needs to take his but back to Mexico and stay there. I am so sick of this administration allowing leaders of other Countries tell them what they need to do and how to run our Country. This administration has no guts to say no. Obama is weak as are the democrats. Just let everyone walk all over you.

    May 20, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. B

    Maybe Calderon should worry about running his country, instead of telling up how to run ours.

    May 20, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  23. Ben in Texas

    It is so easy for the wingnuts to call for draconian measures against undocumented workers and ignore their own culpability for the mess along the border. Here's a reminder:

    1. Workers come from Mexico because Americans hire them.
    2. Drug dealers operate on our borders because Americans buy illegal drugs from them.
    3. Drug dealers are heavily armed because Americans provide them with assault weapons, often bought legally in the U.S.

    Deal with those things before you take your anger out on poor families from Mexico.

    May 20, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. Jerry Hopkins

    I thought this was America and not Mexico North. Arizona passed a law which just says they will enforce the National Law. It is none of Mexico's business. If they don't like it, stay in Mexico. We have more than enough freeloaders here already. I wish all the states would show some guts like Arizona and pass similar laws.
    Barry should realize that it is" We the people and not Me the President".

    May 20, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  25. Diego Cardona

    Illegal immigrants MUST go home. Thanks for AZ passing the law, which will help protect our great nation.

    May 20, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
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