OAS chief slams impact of Arizona law

09:56, May 05, 2010      

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The chief of the Organization of American States (OAS) Tuesday criticized the new Arizona immigration law as having a "terrifying impact" on the American people.

Local newspaper La Tercera quoted OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza as saying the law "has placed this complex issue in the center of the political debate, which has political implications for the United States and the other countries in the Americas."

The OAS chief said the result of this debate would not only define how other countries interpret the moral strengths of the United States, but would also "mark a precedent about what treatment Washington considers and accepts to the less fortunate."

"It is important to keep the focus on two principles -- human rights and the state of law," Insulza added.

Arizona State Governor Jan Brewer signed the toughest U.S. immigration bill into law in late April, sparking protests and debates regarding the nationwide immigration reforms.

Supporters and critics both regard the Arizona law as implementing the strictest immigration measures in generations: It would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police power to detain anyone suspected of being in the United States illegally.

The OAS chief said that the United States is a nation founded and built by immigrants, with most immigrants in that country coming from Latin America and the Caribbean islands.

"Millions of people risk their lives to enter that country facing adverse conditions by sea and land," Insulza said.

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