Mexican President Felipe Calderon delivers a speech to a joint session of congress as Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., applaud, in the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, May 20, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo
WASHINGTON, May 20 (UPI) -- Mexican President Felipe Calderon used his address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress Thursday to criticize Arizona's new immigration law.
"I strongly disagree with your recently adopted law in Arizona," Calderon said.
Democrats among those assembled gave him a standing ovation but his sentiments didn't set well with Republicans, the Washington publication Politico reported.
"It was inappropriate for President Calderon to lecture Americans on our own state and federal laws," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said. "Arizona's immigration law has been amended to make clear it does not authorize racial profiling by law enforcement."
Arizona lawmakers enacted a law requiring police to ask for documentation from anyone they have "reasonable suspicion" might be in the country illegally. That requirement has triggered protests from those who say it will be used to profile Latinos.
The Mexican president also urged Congress to put an assault weapons ban back on the books. Guns flowing from the United States are arming Mexico's drug cartels, which are locked in turf wars that have left an estimated 24,000 people dead in the past 3 1/2 years, he said.
"I fully understand the political sensitivity of this issue," Calderon said. "But I ask Congress to help us with this and to understand how important it is you enforce current laws to stem the supply to criminals and consider reinstating the assault weapon ban."
President Barack Obama has previously said "none of us are under the illusion that reinstating that ban would be easy."