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Arizona: Mexico says no again.

Mexico says Arizona plan for Mexico prison has no validity
The Tucson Citizen
The Associated Press
March 8, 2005

MEXICO CITY - Mexico gave a chilly response on Wednesday to an Arizona plan for a private prison south of the border, saying proponents hadn't bothered to discuss it with Mexican authorities.

"To start with, they cannot decide to open a jail in Sonora. It's a matter of national sovereignty," said Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez.

"They can take all the decisions they want," Derbez said, "but that has no validity."

The lower house of Arizona's legislature voted on Tuesday for a bill that would have illegal immigrants imprisoned in Arizona moved to a private facility planned for Mexico. The measure was sent to the state Senate.

Supporters said the measure would reduce the cost of holding some 3,600 to 4,000 illegal immigrants now serving time in the state's jails and prisons.

Derbez, however, said that "if they are saying that, well, we will be happy to say that as of tomorrow, we will open all Mexican jails in the state of Arizona."

Arizona House Speaker Jim Weiers said he and other Arizona lawmakers had spoken to officials in Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora state, and said, "They weren't angered."

But Derbez indicated the Arizona lawmakers had voted without bothering to talk to Mexican federal authorities who would have to deal with such a plan.

He said Mexico had sent "an explanatory note" to Arizona's governor and lawmakers "indicating that they cannot be taking decisions if they haven't even discussed them" with us.

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