The new Mexican government of incoming president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (or “AMLO”) continues to pleasantly surprise me. Not only have we seen increased cooperation with Mexican law enforcement on our own southern border, but he seems to be serious about attacking the illegal immigration problem at its source. The latest announcement coming from Mexico City indicates that they’re seeking to shut off the flow of migrants and caravans by cracking down on their own southern border. (Washington Times)
Mexico’s top security official says the government will effectively close off illegal entry at its southern border with Guatemala.
Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero says Mexico will end the practice of undocumented or illegal crossings over the Suchiate River, which marks much of the border between the two countries.
Sanchez Cordero said Wednesday that “in the south there will be only one entry, on the bridge.”
She adds that “anyone who wants to enter illegally, we are going to say: ‘Get in line and you can enter our country.’”
There aren’t many details on precisely how they plan on closing off that border, but it’s not nearly as daunting of a task as closing the Mexican-American border. The land bridge at the southern end of Mexico is only 540 miles long, compared to their border with the United States which runs nearly 2,000 miles. Of course, it runs through some fairly brutal territory, including stretches of rivers which can be forded fairly easily.
One initial step would likely be for Mexico to permanently deploy more federal officers to patrol the region and pick people up as they enter. The more drastic approach would be to try building a wall. I somehow doubt that’s going to happen, but if they wanted to start I’d be willing to consider some vastly increased foreign aid to help them finish the project.
Unfortunately, all of this progress with Mexico comes with a rather large asterisk next to it. It remains to be seen how successful AMLO will be in bringing the drug cartels to heel and loosening their grip on both local governments and the police in many parts of the country. If he can’t accomplish that, then the rest is mostly just window dressing.
The goal, however, remains an admirable one. If we can somehow eliminate most of the illegal immigration flowing through Mexico and into the United States from points further south, we’re only left to deal with the Mexicans who want to jump the border. And if AMLO is able to provide more support on his side of our border in that regard, we might finally begin getting a handle on this situation. As I said, there are still plenty of obstacles to overcome between point A and point B, but it’s at least encouraging to see the effort being made.