Mexico blasts new Florida immigration law; vows to help migrants

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s government on Saturday slammed a tough new state immigration law in Florida spearheaded by Republican Governor and U.S. presidential contender Ron DeSantis, and the country vowed to help protect undocumented Mexicans in that state.

DeSantis is seeking the 2024 Republican nomination for president, and his new Florida law, which took effect on Saturday, is seen as a preview of the kind of hardline policies he would seek on immigration enforcement.

Last month, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador urged U.S. Latino voters to reject DeSantis, accusing the politician of trying to win votes at the expense of migrants.

According to DeSantis’ website, the new law includes allocating funds to move migrants without lawful status out of the state; restricting access to ID cards; and requiring more businesses to use an electronic system to validate a person’s eligibility to work.

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry in a statement said the provisions could prompt discrimination and racial profiling, and give rise to hostile environments, intimidation and hate crimes.

“Criminalization is not the way to resolve the phenomenon of undocumented migration,” the ministry said, describing the new measures as driven by xenophobia and white nationalism.

It added that Mexico respects U.S. legislative processes, yet views the Florida law as working against joint efforts by the U.S. and Mexico to treat migrants with respect.

Mexican consulates in the U.S. will work to inform migrants about their rights and partner with civil society groups to identify potential cases of abuse, the ministry said.

(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by David Gregorio)