(Phoenix, Ariz. - March 11, 2005) Attorney General Terry Goddard met today with five members of the Mexican Senate during their two-day visit to Arizona. Goddard addressed their questions about Proposition 200 and discussed other matters of mutual concern.
"Proposition 200 is now the law in Arizona, and I will enforce it vigorously and impartially," Goddard told the group.
He explained his legal opinion that specified what state programs are affected by the proposition, which voters approved last November, and gave them copies of the opinion. That opinion clarifies what state and local welfare benefits are covered by the proposition and the responsibility of state and local government agencies to verify the identity of applicants for those benefits.
Sen. Miguel Sado Sánchez Carreño, chairman of the Mexican delegation, asserted that the senators had "absolute respect for the laws of Arizona and the United States." He emphasized that their purpose in meeting with Goddard was not to try to influence the law but to learn more about its provisions.
In addition to discussing Prop 200, Goddard requested help from the senators to fight the production and use of methamphetamine, which is a scourge on both sides of the border.
"I ask for your assistance in controlling the importation of meth and its precursor chemicals," Goddard said. "We are working hard to reduce the prevalence of meth labs across Arizona."
Goddard explained that a bill being considered by the Arizona Legislature would make it harder for producers to obtain pseudoephedrine, the key chemical used to make meth. He said he hoped Mexico would consider similar legislation.
Sen. Sanchez assured Goddard that the Mexican Senate would consider changes in law that would control precursor chemicals more effectively.
Goddard also raised his concern about the guide published by Mexico's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has been criticized by some as promoting illegal immigration. It contains safety information and other facts useful to people crossing the border.
The guide was prepared with no intention to encourage people to enter the U.S. illegally, Sen. Sanchez said. Its primary purpose was to inform those who attempt to cross about the health and safety dangers.
The Mexican delegation's visit included meetings with U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton,members of the Arizona Legislature, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and faculty members from Arizona State University.