March 23, 2014


Arizona woos Mexico, downplays anti-immigrant law (KATHERINE CORCORAN, 3/22/14, AP)

Official delegations have come across the border several times in the last year looking to drum up more trade and tourism in what is already a big business relationship -- but one they say could be much bigger. They're talking binational everything: companies with headquarters in Phoenix and factories in Mexico, wine tours that visit both sides of the border, even the first Super Bowl with Mexican sponsorship when Phoenix hosts the mega-sports event next year.

"We're just like you are," said Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, who voted for Arizona's controversial law. He was speaking to a binational cocktail party in Mexico City this week, saying Mexicans and Arizonans want the same future for their children: "We'll be here a lot more frequently, and we're here to continue to make friends."

"Friends" was the furthest term from mind in 2010, when the Arizona legislature made it a state crime to fail to get or carry immigration registration papers -- a provision that was later thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court. Justices upheld the law's provision that police, while investigating other crimes, are required to question people's immigration status if they're believed to be in the country illegally. [...]

Tobin, who was leading his second delegation in six months and plans to be back in June, said he supported the legislation because "we were in a crisis mode."

What changed? The global economy.

Arizona emerged from severe recession and recognized it sits next to a country that has lured manufacturing back from Asia, is aggressively seeking foreign investment and plans to open its rich oil sector to the rest of the world. Not only that, Texas and California were already far ahead in boosting economic ties with the "new Brazil."

Posted by at March 23, 2014 6:55 AM

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