Things seem to be heating up south of the border, and I’m not talking about a Taco Bell advertisement. The “Remain in Mexico” policy agreed to by the Mexican government is still in effect, but nobody really specified exactly where in Mexico asylum seekers were supposed to wait. This week the Mexican government took matters into their own hands, at least in some cases. They began packing up some of the migrants on buses and sending them down near the Guatemalan border. (NY Post)
Mexico is sending some of the 30,000 Central American migrants vying for asylum in the United States on 750-mile bus rides — all the way back to southern Mexico, officials said.
The “Remain in Mexico” program pushed by the Trump administration has forced thousands of asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait months to get their turn before a US immigration judge.
But the northern state of Tamaulipas, just across the Rio Grande from Texas, is one of Mexico’s most dangerous zones — and has little housing or services for the newcomers.
To be clear, Mexico isn’t deporting these migrants. They’re simply moving them out of what they admit is a very dangerous area with few services available to support them to a quieter region in the southern end of their nation. The fact that it’s so conveniently close to the border with Guatemala should, however, make it far easier for some of them to “self-deport” if they grow tired of waiting.
This situation does highlight one of the greatest challenges facing the United States and it may start impacting Mexico in the same fashion. With massive numbers of people arriving at the border in “caravans,” we have simply run out of places to keep them. Our immigration courts are tied up with massive backlogs and the detention centers are full. Migrants all too often arrive with what seem to be well-researched playbooks of how to cross illegally and then demand asylum when immigration officials detain them.
The Remain in Mexico policy was a good first step in relieving some of the stress, but all we’re really doing is shifting part of the problem to Mexico. And in many of their northern states, they are no more prepared to handle masses of migrants than we are. In some cases, particularly in the region across the border from El Paso, the cities there are overrun by drug cartels and filled with violence. That’s not a great spot to look for shelter while you await your court date.
Hopefully, the state of Chiapas (where the buses are heading) has more jobs and social service resources available. But even if they don’t, at least the violent crime rate should be a bit lower.