Costa Rica takes sides on Arizona immigration conflict

July 23, 2010

 

On July 21, Costa Rica presented an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. District Court of Arizona, with the aim of protecting “the civil and human rights of Costa Rican citizens while in the United States.”
 
The move allows the Central American country to enter an opinion into the record, without being formally solicited by the parties directly involved. The court is reviewing the constitutionality of the law, which is due to take effect July 29.
 
Since Arizona´s governor signed the law in April, it has drawn loud criticism from immigrant rights groups who fear widespread racial profiling and increased discrimination. Meanwhile, the law’s supporters argue it will effectively address the long-standing and expensive problem of illegal immigration, which has led to violence in Arizona’s southern border region and caused a drain on the state’s budget. 
 
On Wednesday, Costa Rica added its voice to that of Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Nicaragua in denouncing Arizona’s new law.
 
“Faithful to its tradition of promoting and defending human rights, Costa Rica has raised its voice against discrimination against immigrants in the United States,” the Costa Rican foreign ministry wrote in a press release. “We want to express our considerable and fundamental interest in ensuring that Costa Rican citizens enjoy their civil and human rights while they are in the United States of America.”
 
Under a new immigration law in Costa Rica, every hotel and lodging facility must keep a record of its foreign guests. Foreigners are required to carry a passport or a copy of their passport at all times. If they fail to present it upon request, they can be detained for up to 24 hours.
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