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Mexican officials call U.S. lawmaker who made disparaging remarks racist and ignorant

Mexican officials Friday pushed back on what they call racism and ignorance among some U.S. lawmakers.

During a congressional hearing this week, Sen.  John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) pushed for military intervention against cartels in Mexico, saying: “Without the people of America, Mexico, figuratively speaking, would be eating cat food out of a can and living in a tent.”

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard called Kennedy profoundly ignorant and a persona non grata in Mexico.

He also criticized the U.S. House of Representatives for passing a bill that would tighten limits on asylum and resume border wall construction. He said it’s part of a racist political strategy by the far right, and that politicians like Kennedy blame Mexico for supplying the opioid fentanyl to the U.S. in order to score political points.

"Racism is the only cement that holds the party together by what you see in this legislative initiative," he said. "Racism against Mexican people and all Spanish speakers."

Mexico is the United States top trading partner and most loyal ally, Ebrard said, and the two countries work closely together on issues including drug and arms trafficking and immigration.

Kendal Blust, an Arizona native, reports from KJZZ’s bureau in Hermosillo, Sonora, focusing on business and economic relationships between Arizona and northern Mexico.Prior to joining KJZZ, Kendal worked at the Nogales International, reporting on border and immigration issues, local government, education and business. While working on her master’s degree at University of Arizona School of Journalism, she did stints with the Arizona Daily Star and the Tico Times in Costa Rica, and completed a thesis project about women art activists in the Arizona-Sonora borderlands.In her pre-journalist life, Kendal was a teacher, first helping Spanish high school students learn English, then heading to Tucson to teach fourth grade.When she’s not in the newsroom, Kendal enjoys getting outside for a hike or a swim, catching a good movie, hanging out with family and friends, and eating great food.