Posted on February 11, 2020

Trump Got His Wish. Mexico Is Now the Wall.

Jorge Ramos, New York Times, February 7, 2020

Mexico is now the wall. President Trump got his wish.

The heart-wrenching images documenting a recent confrontation in the state of Chiapas, near the border with Guatemala, are evidence of this. Dozens of Mexican National Guard troops equipped with helmets, batons and transparent shields coalesced on the highway connecting the Mexican cities of Ciudad Hidalgo and Tapachula to stop a caravan of migrants heading to the United States from Central America.

The guardsmen used pepper spray on the caravan, which as of mid-January included about 4,000 people, many of them women and children. In the end, hundreds were detained, sent back to Guatemala or deported to Honduras. {snip}

Mexico has effectively turned into an extension of Mr. Trump’s immigration police beyond American territory. And this is the case on multiple fronts: On the southern border with Guatemala, they prevent Central American migrants from coming into Mexico; on the northern one, they block those seeking entry to the United States from leaving. {snip}

Under the Migrant Protection Protocols program, which the Trump administration introduced in January 2019, asylum seekers who attempt to enter the United States at the U.S.-Mexico border may be required to stay in Mexico while the authorities make a decision regarding their case. As of November 2019, over 56,000 people had been sent back to Mexico to wait for the outcome of their applications. {snip}

This is a radical change in immigration policy for the United States. In the past, Central American asylum seekers were allowed to remain on American soil while waiting for their cases to be processed.


{snip} Everything changed because of Donald Trump. By mid-2019, a number of Central American caravans were traveling across Mexico. The president, comparing them to an invasion, warned Mexico that they should do something to stop them, and that he would slap tariffs on all Mexican imports if it didn’t.


{snip} Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security, said that the Trump administration had seen more cooperation from Mexico “than anyone thought was possible.”

Mr. Cuccinelli is right. Over a year ago, few would have thought that a leftist president like AMLO (author of a critical book titled “Oye, Trump” and defender of Central Americans crossing Mexico) would suddenly become Mr. Trump’s main ally in immigration matters.


{snip} I am surprised by the indifference shown by so many Mexicans over the abuses of the National Guard and the vicious attacks on social media aimed at Central Americans. {snip}


What should Mexico be doing with migrants from Central America? Just let them go through and protect them as they do so, instead of repressing them. {snip}