News Update


Is Mexico carrying out the ‘dirty job’ of the US in terms of immigration?

Marilyn Lomas had at last succeeded. The Suchiate stood in front of the Ecuadorian migrant, her husband, and their two children. The powerful river, which forms the majority of the southwest portion of the 956-kilometer (594-mile) border between Mexico and Guatemala, can periodically become perilous for migrants.

“Ecuador’s condition is really dire. A lot of crime occurs. It’s pretty horrible,” she remarked as she and her family, along with about a dozen other migrants, recently crossed the river on a rickety raft. The migrants often pay local guides $1 to assist them over, hopefully without getting wet.

The family might have easily crossed from the Guatemalan department of San Marcos into the Mexican state of Chiapas if it weren’t for the Suchiate. In the past, there haven’t been many limits on southern migrants entering Guatemala or Mexico. But in 2019, that drastically altered.

Then-US President Donald Trump threatened to put tariffs on all Mexican imports into the US in May of that year if Mexico did not restrict the number of Central American migrants transiting the nation.

After lengthy negotiations, Mexico agreed to “take strong measures to stem the tide of migration through Mexico, and to our southern border,” according to a pact revealed by Trump on June 7 in a tweet by the then-president.

Two weeks later, Mexico’s defense minister declared that nearly 15,000 troops had been sent to the US-Mexico border, in addition to the 4,500 already stationed there and the 2,000 members of the National Guard who had already been sent to the southern border with Belize and Guatemala.

However, the enforcement has been disorganized, irregular, and, in the words of a former senior Mexican official, “inefficient.”

Up until 2019, Tonatiuh Guillén served as the National Migration Institute of Mexico’s commissioner. He resigned after only seven months in his position because to his severe disagreement with his employer, president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and his choice to “militarize Mexico’s borders.”

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador disputes the idea that his country is carrying out US orders.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador disputes the idea that his country is carrying out US orders.
Eyepix Group/NurPhoto/AP/Luis Barron
Mexico was turned into a control area with harsh immigration laws, detentions, and expulsions. Furthermore, we must emphasize that these stringent restrictions have been incredibly ineffective despite their severity. When these safeguards were put in place, the number of migrants who entered Mexico in 2018 or the year after had tripled or quadrupled, Guillén told CNN.

When questioned about whether Mexico was carrying out American immigration policy’s dirty work, Guillén responded, “Mexico’s migration policy is aligned with the overall goals and strategies the US government had under Trump, and now, by extension, under Biden.”

As another immigration agreement demonstrates, the US still heavily relies on Mexico’s participation in many aspects of its immigration policy today: The White House said earlier this month that Mexico had agreed to begin accepting refugees from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela on May 12, the day after Title 42 came to an end. With this arrangement, the US will deport non-Mexicans for the first time across the border.

“This is not about doing the dirty work for the United States.”
Mexican President Obrador disputes the notion that his country is adopting US immigration policy.

On March 2, he declared during his daily morning speech, “This is not about doing the dirty work of the United States.” He claimed that in order to safeguard those who had been the victims of human smugglers, stricter immigration laws must be implemented.

“Migrant protection is the topic here. Just take a look at all the disasters with migrants in trailers that have occurred, the president remarked. In hot temperatures, 51 migrants were discovered dead aboard a semitruck in San Antonio, Texas, last June. Another 47 migrants were discovered alive two months later, jammed inside a truck in Matehuala (San Luis Potos state), Mexico.

On May 11, 2023, migrants enter Border Patrol vans at the border wall in El Paso, Texas.
A girl, age 8, passes away while being held by US Customs and Border Protection
According to López Obrador, “cooperating with the U.S. government so that there is no chaos, and much less violence, at the border,” is a component of the answer. Additionally, we are assisting at the southeast [border] of [Mexico] to safeguard migrants. According to information we’ve been receiving, there are a lot of people traffickers and people smugglers offering to transport migrants for $8,000 to $10,000, the president stated.

Guillén, his former immigration commissioner, however, points out that tragedies have also happened during the course of immigration enforcement, saying he was horrified by the fire that killed 40 mostly Central American migrants at a facility of Mexico’s National Migration Institute in Ciudad Juárez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, and he was horrified by the fact that the fire occurred in the middle of immigration enforcement.

He regards this tragedy as one of the most appalling instances of his nation’s incapacity to humanely solve its immigration problem.

On March 27, 2023, a fire broke out inside the National Migration Institute in Ciudad Juarez. Migrants, largely from Venezuela, were being evacuated when Viangly, a Venezuelan, reacted outside an ambulance.
On March 27, 2023, a fire broke out inside the National Migration Institute in Ciudad Juarez. Migrants, largely from Venezuela, were being evacuated when Viangly, a Venezuelan, reacted outside an ambulance.
Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez
During the summer of 2019, clashes between migrants and National Guard personnel at the Mexico-Guatemala border increased. Conflicts in the years that followed have also revealed that the Mexican government lacks the personnel and the plan necessary to address the issue.

The Mexican government released figures on immigration enforcement along its borders between September 2021 and June of last year, showing that almost 23,458 personnel of the armed forces were stationed there. During that time, the military detained 345,854 migrants.

However, it appears like Mexico is attempting to strike a balance between strict enforcement and a friendly attitude. More than 81,000 migrants from more than 100 countries, primarily from Venezuela, Ecuador, and Haiti, were processed between early November and May 6, according to the National Migration Institute office in Chiapas state, which borders Guatemala.

The Ecuadorian migrants, Marilyn Lomas and her family, hoped to obtain a permit to cross Mexico without incident before entering the United States.

Everything is possible with God’s favor, she said.


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