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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Politicians Snub Latinos' Real Wishes

Politicians Snub Latinos' Real Wishes

By Dan Stein, Dan Stein is executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.


Ranking right up there with the proverbial "Dog Bites Man" headline, a new opinion poll released last week by the Pew Hispanic Center finds that Latinos in the United States are most concerned about education, jobs, the state of the economy and access to affordable healthcare — just like everyone else in the country. Eleventh on the list of things that Latinos are concerned with — several notches below the vague notion of moral values — is immigration.

So why are President Bush, Sen. John Kerry and congressional leaders of both parties making immigration the cornerstone of their campaigns to court Latino voters in the upcoming elections, when what Latinos really want are good schools for their kids, decent jobs for themselves and the peace of mind of knowing that they won't be bankrupted by an illness in the family? Simple: It's much easier for politicians to weaken existing federal immigration laws than it is to deliver a decent education, plentiful jobs, affordable healthcare or, for that matter, moral values.

With the stroke of Bush's or Kerry's pen, millions of illegal aliens can be instantly transformed into guest workers or green card holders, and the man holding the pen can take credit for having "delivered" something to Latinos, even if it is only the 11th item on their wish list. Ironically, in making item No. 11 come true, the politicians who are pandering to them will make their other wishes even more difficult, if not impossible, to attain. Because neither Congress nor the president possesses the authority to repeal the law of supply and demand, amnesty for millions of illegal aliens and their families, expanded guest worker programs and still higher levels of legal immigration would only exacerbate the very problems that most Latinos (and everybody else) worry about.

It is no secret that school systems in the places where most Latinos live are leaving many children behind. It is hard to imagine how amnesty for illegal workers, or still more immigration, is going to improve overcrowded, underfunded school systems that are already struggling with vast numbers of kids who speak little or no English.

How, exactly, would a massive new guest worker program help millions of hardworking Latinos who are struggling to stay above the poverty line improve their prospects and family incomes? With 44 million people in the United States lacking basic healthcare coverage, how would an influx of still more immigrants who are also likely to lack health coverage ameliorate the concerns of families that already live in fear of getting sick?

It may not be popular with the Latino leadership in this country that sees legal and illegal immigration as a means to building a constituency, but the best way to address the real concerns of rank-and-file Latino Americans — a substantial number of whom oppose amnesty and still higher levels of immigration — would be to vigorously enforce laws against illegal immigration, reduce overall levels of legal immigration and curtail the ever-expanding number of guest worker programs. The same laws of supply and demand that now work against the interests of most Latinos and others who work for a living could begin to work in their favor if we had less, rather than more, immigration.

Shocking as it may seem to politicians — particularly those in the current administration who decided that immigration was the secret to winning their votes — Latinos care about the same things as the rest of the electorate. The same poll that shows that immigration is 11th on the list of Latino concerns also shows Bush trailing Kerry 62% to 32%.

Whether it is Bush or Kerry occupying the White House for the next four years, if all the president delivers to Latinos is more immigrants, guest workers and green cards for illegal aliens, rather than jobs, education and healthcare, all he will have to show for his efforts come 2008 will be more dissatisfied voters.

Fredericksburg.com - Illegal aliens shouldn't be enrolled in ANY colleges

Fredericksburg.com - Illegal aliens shouldn't be enrolled in ANY colleges

Illegal aliens shouldn't be enrolled in ANY colleges

Date published: 7/27/2004

What is it about the words "illegal aliens" that our politicians don't understand? Published Virginia legislative news indicates that Virginia Republicans and Democrats agreed that state colleges should enroll "illegal aliens," but disagreed on whether illegals be required to pay out-of-state tuition.

It seems to me the words "illegal aliens" should turn on a light bulb in the anatomical content of the cranium, thus sparking recall of the definition of the word "illegal," meaning "forbidden by law or statute; forbidden by official rules and regulations," and the definition of "alien," a person born in another country who has not acquired citizenship by naturalization.

Armed with the foregoing information, our legislators (state or federal) ought to determine that a criminal noncitizen should not be allowed to enroll in any schools, regardless of whether the schools are state or federally or privately supported.

An illegal alien is a criminal noncitizen, and the duty of school authorities should be reporting illegal aliens to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for deportation, and the duty of our legislators should be legislating to make it more difficult, rather than making it easier, for "illegal aliens" to abuse our laws.

Even though illegal aliens may have received a high school diploma in the United States, they are not here legally and should not be rewarded for criminal behavior since it will encourage only more foreigners to migrate to the United States without proper documentation.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Xenophobia in Mexican soccer | csmonitor.com

Xenophobia in Mexican soccer | csmonitor.com

Xenophobia in Mexican soccer
A new soccer rule says 'naturalized' citizens aren't really Mexicans. Does this definition go beyond sports?
By Ken Bensinger | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor

MEXICO CITY - Sports and love of country are old amigos here. But a new rule in Mexico's pro soccer league - tightening the definition of who is a "Mexican" - takes nationalism to new heights. And, say some observers, may help fuel xenophobia beyond the soccer pitch.

The rule, passed last month by owners at the annual meeting of the Mexican Soccer Federation (FMF), changes existing limits on the number of foreign players permitted on each squad in the 20-team league. Previously, every team was allowed to have five non-Mexican players on its roster and to play up to three of them at at time. Now, teams will be allowed to have six, four of whom can play at once.

But while expanding the number of "foreign" players, it also alters who is a Mexican. Starting next month, when the new season begins, naturalized Mexicans will be considered foreigners under the rule.

This rule is the latest example of a growing hard-line attitude here about Mexico's identity. Even as millions of Mexicans are trying to be accepted as citizens in the United States, foreigners - even ones who have become full citizens - are increasingly getting the cold shoulder.

"There are few precedents in Mexico for discrimination against naturalized citizens, simply because there are so few naturalized citizens here," says Adolfo Zapata, a trial lawyer in Mexico City. "Now that immigration is increasing, the [soccer rule] could open the doorway to many such special, discriminatory rules. It's troubling."

Indeed, the number of naturalizations is on the rise here. Between 2001 and 2003, 11,844 people were naturalized, nearly double the total for the previous six years. The majority of those new Mexicans come from Guatemala, China, Cuba, Colombia, and Argentina. Prior to President Vicente Fox and his predecessor, Ernesto Zedillo, Mexico naturalized fewer than 200 people per year.

According to FMF secretary general Decio de Mario, the soccer rule was passed "to try to have a fairer, more equal soccer, so that no team has an advantage in competition." Instead, it seems to allow owners to cut costs, since Mexican (and naturalized Mexican) players tend to earn less than foreigners.

While other Latin American countries, such as Argentina, have been known to incorporate a few foreign players into their leagues, Mexico, more than any other in the region, relies heavily on extranjeros to stock its pro soccer teams, and as such is at the forefront of the sport's debate about how much they should be used.

Naturalized Mexicans frequently complain of ill treatment when dealing with the labyrinth of government bureaucracy. Pablo Szmulewicz, who was born in Argentina but has lived in Mexico for two decades and is naturalized, ran into this when voting last year. "The person at the booth heard my accent, looked at my voting card and told me it must be counterfeit and that I couldn't vote," he says.

In those same elections, a tiny new political group, the Party for a Nationalist Society (PSN), called for closing Mexico's borders and the expulsion of many foreigners, directing much of its rhetoric against the nation's fast-growing Asian immigrant population. In Mexico City elections, PSN candidates received nearly 10,000 votes, a tiny fraction of the total, but still significant for a first-time effort.

As far as expressions of national identity go, soccer touches some of Mexico's deepest nerves. The nation's greatest player, Hugo Sanchez, now a coach in the Mexican league, has consistently criticized the hiring of foreigners. He furiously attacked the coach of the national team that played in the 2002 World Cup for selecting, for the first-time ever, a naturalized Mexican, Argentine-born Gabriel Caballero.

The issue came up again this month, when the current national team coach, Ricardo la Volpe, himself Argentine, named a Brazilian-born naturalized Mexican, Antonio "Sinha" Naelson, to the under-23 team that will play in the Athens Olympics.

Three out of five Mexicans surveyed - in poll conducted by Mexico City daily newspaper Reforma after Sinha's selection - said that naturalized citizens should not be allowed to play on the Mexican national team, because "they rob playing opportunities from Mexican born players."

The sentiment extends to Mexico's players as well, many of whom complain that foreign players restrict their playing time.

"It's embarrassing that so many foreigners are permitted," says Rafael Marquez, a defenseman and member of the Mexican national team, who, ironically, plays professionally for the Barcelona club in the Spanish league. Mr. Marquez, like many, says that teams should be limited to two or three foreigners.

"I hope they realize this hurts Mexican soccer," says Marquez, who adds that he would never apply for Spanish citizenship.

Some Mexican fans put it more succinctly. "The next time we're lamenting another loss by the national team, let's not forget to mention the huge number of foreigners playing in Mexico as a factor," says Fernando Schwartz, who supports the Guadalajara Chivas team, which allows only Mexican-born players on its roster, unique in the league. He argues that foreign players take playing time away from Mexicans, thus diminishing their skills.

Foreign-born players in Mexico say that the case is just the opposite: high-quality foreign players improve the overall level of soccer here.

"I hear stupid ideas that they should lower the number of foreigners, that we're responsible for Mexico's failures, but if they got rid of foreign players, Mexico's soccer would be worse off," says Jose Cardozo, a Paraguayan-born forward for the Toluca team.

Indeed, some of the Mexican pro league's best players are not Mexican: in the season that concluded last month, eight of the top 10 goal scorers, and 14 of the top 20, were foreigners. Fully 80 percent of the goals scored in the league were by foreigners, according to Mexican soccer league statistics.

Critics of the rule say it's part of an emerging trend. Last month, a Mexican federal judge ruled that a naturalized Mexican from Spain with alleged ties to the Basque separatist group could be deported in apparent contradiction to Mexico's Constitution.

The case is being appealed. But some lawyers say that the new soccer rule could help bolster this kind of precedent.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

AP Wire | 07/25/2004 | AG rules on preventive health care for illegal immigrants

AP Wire | 07/25/2004 | AG rules on preventive health care for illegal immigrants
Posted on Sun, Jul. 25, 2004





AG rules on preventive health care for illegal immigrants

JUAN A. LOZANO

Associated Press


HOUSTON - While hospital districts in Texas can provide nonemergency health care to illegal immigrants, they are not required to do so, state Attorney General Greg Abbott has said in a legal opinion.

In February, the Montgomery County Hospital District's board members argued over whether they were forced to provide such health care under a new state law. They put a decision on hold and asked Abbott for an opinion.

But the legal debate of the issue in Texas goes back to 2001, when then-Attorney General John Cornyn ruled that a federal welfare overhaul five years earlier prohibited states from offering nonemergency, preventive health care to illegal immigrants unless a specific law allowed it. Texas had no such law then.

Federal law requires all hospitals, public or private, to treat emergency room patients.

Cornyn issued his ruling after the Harris County Hospital District in Houston asked him for guidance. Harris County and others around the state continued providing such health care while Montgomery County, located north of Houston, and some others stopped.

State lawmakers last year passed House Bill 2292, which made such health care legal under the 1996 welfare overhaul.

When the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office in January ruled the new legislation required its county's hospital district to provide such free or discounted care to illegal immigrants, that created more confusion on the issue. The hospital district had not provided such health care since 1997.

In his opinion, issued late Friday, Abbott wrote that under the new state law, an illegal immigrant "is eligible to receive public health benefits. But an undocumented person is not entitled to receive those benefits from state funds...And he or she may be entitled to receive such benefits from local funds only if a particular hospital district permits the use of its funds for that person."

William Leigh, a board member of the Montgomery County Hospital District, said he doesn't think the board will decide to offer such health care for either the rest of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, or during the next one, which begins Oct. 1.

The board will spend August creating the next fiscal year's budget and at that point make its final decision on whether it will offer such benefits to illegal immigrants.

"Frankly I hope we don't because I don't believe the service is necessary and I don't think the economy and taxpayers of Montgomery County can afford it," Leigh said. "I just don't think it's fiscally responsible."

Hospital district officials have said if such health care was mandatory, it would cost the county nearly $2 million the first year and more than $20 million by 2008.

Leigh said that illegal immigrants will be able to receive preventive health care at several area clinics, including one that has been designated by the federal government to take care of such individuals.

But local immigrant rights and health care activists disagree with the hospital district, saying it makes economic sense to have individuals treated early, before they need to go to an emergency room, which can be three to 10 times more expensive.


MercuryNews.com | 07/25/2004 | Immigrants offered house arrest amid deportation hearings

MercuryNews.com | 07/25/2004 | Immigrants offered house arrest amid deportation hearings
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Posted on Sun, Jul. 25, 2004





Immigrants offered house arrest amid deportation hearings

PILOT PROGRAM AIMS TO LIMIT JAIL TIME

By Jessie Mangaliman

Mercury News


Every night after 6 p.m. when his curfew begins, Gerardo Gonzaga stands close to the telephone in his Vallejo home.

He waits for a minute while the small electronic gadget strapped to his right ankle transmits a signal to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in San Francisco.

The inaudible signal lets immigration officials know whether Gonzaga, 23, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who is facing deportation, is in fact at home, under house arrest.

Gonzaga is one of the Bay Area's first participants in a national pilot program that allows certain immigrants who have been arrested and detained to live at home while awaiting deportation. San Francisco is one of eight U.S. immigration bureaus that in the coming months will release as many as 200 immigrants who are not convicted felons and do not pose a threat to national security.

``I couldn't stand it in jail,'' said Gonzaga, 23, who was arrested by immigration agents last month at San Francisco International Airport, where he worked as a cook at a Mexican restaurant.

`I feel good'

Gonzaga spent three nights in jail, a relatively short stay compared with many others in his situation who have sat in cells for months and even years as they awaited resolution of their cases. If it weren't for the pilot program, he knows he'd still be in jail rather than at home with his wife, Lilian, and two infant daughters, all U.S. citizens.

Under the program, Gonzaga is allowed to leave his home from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., but he is not allowed to work. These days he is taking care of his two young children while his wife works as a cook at a restaurant at San Francisco Airport. Three times a week, he must report to an immigration agent in San Francisco.

``I feel good to be at home because I can be with my wife and children,'' said Gonzaga, who came to the United States illegally six years ago from Puebla, Mexico.

The pilot project, called Intensive Supervision Appearance Program, or ISAP, relies on the same system and tools in place for non-violent criminal parolees: electronic monitoring devices, random visits and regular meetings with immigration agents.

So far, 25 of the more than 400 detainees being held in San Francisco have qualified to participate in the month-old program, more than any other pilot city, immigration officials said. The agency will evaluate the program after a year to determine whether to continue.

``It's very good,'' said Nancy Alcantar, field office director for detention and removal with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Francisco. ``It's a way for people whom we don't have to hold in custody to be with their families instead.''

Immigration officials said the extensive monitoring procedure also is a way to ensure that immigrants such as Gonzaga don't skip out on their scheduled hearings.

`Just a Band-Aid'

Many immigrant advocates who have been lobbying the Department of Homeland Security -- the agency that oversees immigration enforcement -- to reduce the number of detentions, praised the new program.

But some cautioned that it provides limited relief, ignoring thousands of other immigrants awaiting hearings and deportation proceedings while in detention.

``This is a step in a more positive direction. But in a way it's just a Band-Aid,'' said Amy Reinhorn, a spokeswoman for the Northern California chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. ``What really needs to be addressed is why so many people need to be detained.''

Since the former Immigration and Naturalization Service was split into three agencies -- a result of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 -- the federal government has enforced mandatory detention of visa violators, undocumented immigrants, non-citizen immigrants convicted of felonies, and others considered a threat to national security.

Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a national group that advocates for immigration limits, said it's too early to tell how well the pilot program is going to work.

``There's a difference between theory and practice,'' Mehlman said. ``It probably could be viable if it's actually enforced and they're actually proceeding with deportation.''

`Nice to see her free'

Rosario Maria Hernandez, a San Francisco attorney, said one of her clients spent more than 10 months in Yuba County Jail before the new program came along. Her client, a legal permanent resident from South Korea and the widow of a Gulf War veteran, is facing deportation because of two misdemeanor convictions for which she has already served time.

Hernandez declined to discuss specifics of the convictions.

``After being detained for a long time, this is better,'' Hernandez said. ``She can breathe fresh air, she can go for walks, she can work. It's nice to see her free again.''

The outcome of Gonzaga's deportation proceeding is unknown, but he and his wife are grateful for the time they have at home.

``It's difficult for us that he's not working,'' said Lilian Gonzaga, 23, an immigrant from El Salvador who became a U.S. citizen in January. ``But it's still better than jail. He's with me and my children.''

OrlandoSentinel.com: If you are serious about human slavery

OrlandoSentinel.com: State News
A Salvadoran woman allegedly held against her will and forced to work as a maid in a multimillion-dollar mansion.

Democrats and other Bush critics called portions of the president's speech at a Tampa conference on human trafficking earlier this month thinly veiled campaign rhetoric aimed at key Florida voters. But most who work to fight human trafficking in Florida said they are grateful for the attention the president's visit brought to the issue, if not the political spin that came with it.

"I think we live in a political world and there is no avoiding that. . . . [but] Bush helped shine the light on the tragic reality facing our state," said Robin Hassler Thompson, program director of the human-trafficking project at the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights at Florida State University.

Modern-day slavery

As many as 17,500 trafficking victims are brought into the United States each year, many as young as 12. In Florida those victims include legal and illegal immigrants, the homeless, teenage runaways and others.

Across the state, including in the Orlando area, trafficking victims are forced into prostitution, sexual servitude and labor in sweat shops, farms and even the homes of affluent captors, said Chief U.S. Assistant Attorney Doug Molloy of Fort Myers, who has four investigations under way.

"We have cases where you have millionaires who are taking advantage of situations with cheap labor, too," said Anna Rodriguez, whose investigation of a human-trafficking case for the Collier County Sheriff's Office led President Bush to praise her dogged detective work.

Now the director of the Immigrant Rights Advocacy Center in Naples, Rodriguez said she is checking into allegations that a Salvadoran woman was brought to Florida on a tourist visa by a wealthy business owner who took her passport and forced her to work in his mansion.

There have been six federal cases brought in South Florida alone in the past six years. Most involved forced labor of farmworkers. But investigations have also uncovered elaborate prostitution rings using young women who were virtually slaves of the ringleaders.

Just last year, federal agents broke up the prostitution ring that used Cadillac Escalades and other vehicles to deliver a half-dozen underage Mexican girls to the homes, trailers and apartments of as many as 20 clients a night in Bonita Springs, Immokalee and Naples, Molloy said.

A much larger prostitution ring that had enslaved as many as 40 Mexican women and girls was broken up in 1997. Based in southwest Florida, leaders of the ring forced them to work in brothels in migrant-worker communities across Florida and Johns Island, S.C.

The victims, some as young as 14, were lured by promises of jobs as waitresses or nannies in the United States and promised wages of at least $400 a week plus tips. In brothels operated out of trailers and rundown houses, the women were forced to have sex with as many as 30 men per day.

The brothels were in Ocoee and a dozen other communities farther south.

Members of two Mexican families were charged with operating the prostitution ring. One family member, Rogerio Cadena, pleaded guilty to federal slavery and prostitution charges and was sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined $1 million. Six other members of the ring pleaded guilty to similar charges and received sentences of two to 6 years.

Advocate investigators

Three of the human-trafficking cases in South Florida were brought to light by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Collier County. Most recently, the organization, which has more than 200 members, conducted an undercover investigation that led to the 2002 prosecution of a slavery ring involving more than 700 people held captive in migrant camps in Lake Placid.

Members of the Ramos family, Mexican immigrants, and their operatives were buying and selling illegal immigrant farm laborers from Mexico and Central America. The workers were smuggled into Arizona, brought east and forced to labor for little or no pay in fields from South Florida to North Carolina, according to the FSU human-trafficking report.

The Ramos family leaders charged workers a $1,000 transportation fee and held each in bondage until they had worked it off. Workers were also charged "exorbitant" amounts for room and board. Two Ramos brothers were sentenced to 12 years in prison and a cousin received 10 years.

Abuses continue

The aggressive advocacy of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has greatly raised awareness of the problem among migrant workers who increasingly come forward with reports of abusive treatment. But the fight continues, Perkins said.

"They [traffickers] will only be eliminated when there are serious efforts made by the corporations and the produce industry that benefits from low wages and bad working conditions to make a change," Perkins said.

Sister Maureen Kelleher of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center in Immokalee, which has provided legal services to impoverished farmworkers for 20 years, said the president could prove himself "a true champion by taking care of prevention as well as punishing after the fact."

Kelleher and other advocates expressed frustration that the Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits and Security Act, which would permit undocumented farmworkers to earn legal status, was recently tabled by Republican leaders.

"If you are serious about human slavery in both the sex and labor trades, let's bring the undocumented into the sunshine so they can step out of the shadows and not be victimized," she said.

Wes Smith can be reached at dwsmith@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5672.

DallasNews.com | News for Dallas, Texas | World: Mexico

DallasNews.com | News for Dallas, Texas | World: Mexico
Ex-Mexican president may be charged

Judge weighing warrant for arrest in '71 killings of student protesters


10:12 PM CDT on Friday, July 23, 2004


By LAURENCE ILIFF and RICARDO SANDOVAL / The Dallas Morning News



MEXICO CITY – A federal judge was deliberating late Friday whether to charge former President Luis Echeverría with genocide in connection with the 1971 killings of dozens of student protesters during the Mexican government's "dirty war" against opponents.

Special Prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo Prieto asked Judge César Flores late Thursday to issue an arrest warrant for Mr. Echeverría, who was president from 1970 to 1976. If the judge complies, it would be the first time a Mexican president is charged with a crime.

Mr. Carrillo Prieto sought the charges against Mr. Echeverría, former Interior Minister Mario Moya Palencia and former Attorney General Julio Sánchez Vargas for their roles in what is known as the "Corpus Cristo Thursday" massacre of demonstrators by police and the military.

The case has gnawed at Mexicans for decades, with some citizens demanding that the perpetrators be punished and others insisting the tragedy was too divisive and should be consigned to the history books.

Mr. Echeverría could not be reached for comment late Friday. The 82-year-old former president has been ailing for some time. Military guards at his home in southern Mexico City said he was not there.

In an earlier interview with Belo Television, Mr. Echeverría was asked if he bore any guilt for the killings.

"Not in the least," he said, adding that he was "outside of the storm" surrounding the matter.

"There is a superficial tendency to judge people, circumstances, contexts," Mr. Echeverría said. "At certain levels, we cannot simplify."

A spokesman for President Vicente Fox said he had no comment. In 2000, Mr. Fox became the first president from an opposition party, the National Action Party, or PAN, defeating the candidate from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. PRI members, including Mr. Echeverría, had held the presidency for 71 years before that.

Roberto Madrazo, national director of the PRI, questioned the motives of the Fox administration.

"The so-called dirty war is a smokescreen by the government that seeks to return us to the past and that places at risk the existence of our institutions and therefore the state itself," he said.

Juan Velázquez, attorney for Mr. Echeverría and his former Cabinet members, emerged from a meeting with Judge Flores on Friday afternoon and said he had spent an hour presenting a defense. That defense included the argument that the statute of limitations had expired on all the crimes mentioned.

"The only thing left to do is to wait until Saturday when the judge announces his ruling," Mr. Velázquez told reporters.

Mexico's Supreme Court ruled recently that the crime of arbitrary detention may be pursued if the victim has not been found, based on the argument that the crime could be of a continuing nature and therefore the statute of limitations does not apply.

But the ruling did not address the issue of whether "genocide" is subject to the statute of limitations. Mexican authorities have argued that the country is subject to international treaties that stipulate there is no statute of limitations for genocide.

In presenting his case to Judge Flores, Prosecutor Carrillo Prieto delivered nine boxes of papers he said document the crime of genocide against a dozen former government and military officials, including Mr. Echeverría.

The massacre at the heart of Mr. Carrillo Prieto's investigation occurred on June 10, 1971, when protesting college students were intercepted en route to Mexico City's ceremonial square, the Zócalo, by a paramilitary squad.

The squadopened fire on the students, witnesses said, killing between 30 and 70 of them. Dozens were injured and arrested.

In 1968, a similar massacre of mostly student protesters at Mexico City's Tlatelolco plaza left 52 dead, according to official numbers. Rights activists said hundreds were killed and "disappeared."

The action that Mr. Carrillo Prieto brought against Mr. Echeverría and his colleagues was filed on behalf of Jesús Martín del Campo, whose brother was killed in the 1971 confrontation.

Given the complexity of the case, some analysts said it probably would have to be resolved by the Supreme Court.

"There are too many judicial barriers to cleanly decide this," said Carlos Humberto Toledo, a legal and military analyst in Mexico City. Mr. Toledo said he is concerned that the special prosecutor may not have enough evidence to make a case against Mr. Echeverría.

"Apart from the question of statutes of limitations, it is difficult to see 'genocide' as a successful accusation," Mr. Toledo said. "What happened in Chile or in Argentina represent different circumstances where there was a systematic attempt to eliminate whole groups of people over several years.

"In Mexico, these events happened on two single days and as a reaction against perceived threats to the state."

Other analysts said, however, that to focus on whether the government can make a case is to lose sight of the bigger picture.

"Regardless of the merits of the case, what's important here is the message President Fox is sending: He's serious about attacking impunity," said Sergio Aguayo, a professor at the College of Mexico and a student rights activist in the 1960s and '70s. "You have to applaud Fox for going forward with this even though ... Echeverría will not see the inside of a jail. But at least he and others responsible will get the message: The days of impunity are over."