Joe Biden took office promising to put a friendlier face on US immigration policy. He ended a scheme that required asylum seekers to remain in Mexico, vowed to restore the United States asylum system, and pledged to spend $ 4 billion to address the root causes of migration in Central America.
But as increasing numbers of unaccompanied minors arrive at the southern US border and create an internal political crisis for the US president, he is resorting to a tactic used by his predecessors, including Donald. Trump: Outsource Immigration Law Enforcement to Mexico.
Trump lobbied Mexico to deploy its newly formed national guard on its border with Guatemala in June 2019, after threatening to increase tariffs on Mexican imports.
Analysts see that something similar is happening again in Mexico, but this time with more promises of cooperation on issues such as sharing Covid-19 vaccines, rather than threats of economic catastrophe.
“I don’t see why Biden would have to change a foreign policy [on migration] when it has worked for the United States, ”said Javier Urbano, coordinator of the immigration affairs program at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.
“Whether we like it or not, what Donald Trump achieved was some kind of control by the United States over Mexico’s border migration policy with Central America,” he added. “If this policy works to significantly reduce migration, why should they change strategy?”
Senior US diplomats will travel to Mexico City to talk Tuesday about how to stem the flow of Central American migrants.
The US border czar and former ambassador to Mexico, Roberta Jacobson, and the director of the national security council for the western hemisphere, Juan González, say their meeting was “to develop an effective and humane plan of action to manage migration. “, according to a statement of the White House.
“The main theme will be cooperation for development in Central America and southern Mexico, in addition to the joint effort in safe, orderly and regular migration.” tweeted Roberto Velasco Álvarez, undersecretary for North America of the Mexican Foreign Ministry.
Mexico recently deployed police, members of the national guard, and immigration officers to its border with Guatemala. Its stated objective was to protect migrant children, whom The National Immigration Institute said they were being “used by criminal organizations as a document of safe passage” to transit through Mexico. (Mexico recently enacted a law that prohibits children from being held in migrant detention centers).
On Friday, riot police, immigration agents and members of the National Guard marched through the streets of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, capital of the southern state of Chiapas, in a show of force.
Mexico also restricted non-essential travel at its northern and southern borders for health reasons, something rare in a country that has not suspended flights from countries affected by Covid-19 and has not required Covid-19 testing to enter.
The deployment, along with the decision to restrict travel at the border, coincided with the US government’s agreement to ship 2.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to its southern neighbor. (The US government will also deliver 1.5 million doses of the vaccine to Canada.)
Both governments denied that the vaccines were shipped to Mexico with conditions, and Mexico will provide the United States with the equivalent number of doses at a later date. Mexican officials hailed the vaccination as a warm gesture of friendship and the rebirth of American cooperation, a relationship that appeared to be weakening with Trump.
But the situation fueled a sense of deja vu in Mexico, especially after four years of Trump’s toughness on immigration issues, in which Mexico effectively became the wall of the US president that detains migrants heading to the United States. North.
Even before Trump’s term, Mexico unveiled a plan known as the southern border plan in 2014 to curb the departure of migrant children from Central America.
“This is not a surprise because we have seen it before,” said Carlos Heredia, a professor at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics, of the perceived exchange.
“Migrants,” he added, “have become a bargaining chip.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism