Wear 'Em Out: Mexico's New Strategy to Stop Immigration to the United States

AP Photo/Edgar Clemente

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) and Mexican officials have come up with a plan to stop millions of people coming north to the U.S. border. They are going to wear the migrants out so that they just give up trying to cross the border.

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AMLO and other Mexican officials are under pressure from the Biden administration now that we are in an election year. Biden is underwater on the issues of border security and illegal immigration so he signed a feckless executive action last week to make it look like he is doing something.

The Biden administration has been offering up financial aid and bringing corporations together to pledge to hire Mexicans in their plants there. So, Mexican officials have to try to live up to their side of the bargain. They are supposed to stop migrants from moving through Mexico to get to the United States. 

According to the Associated Press, the migrants are rounded up across Mexico and taken back to southern Mexico cities like Villahermosa and Tapachula. Some have gone through this routine as many as six times. Migrants come from Central America and South America through the southern Mexican border. 

AMLO said that the policy is for their own good. It protects them

“We care a lot ... about keeping migrants in the southeast because crossing to the north is very risky,” López Obrador said in his morning press briefing, responding to a question from The Associated Press about busing migrants to southern Mexico.

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The AP reports that this will force migrants, including pregnant women and children, to remain in Mexico until they manage to invade the U.S. southern border. The AP reports that analysts say that this may worsen under Biden's new asylum restrictions he signed into effect last week. 

Here's the thing - Biden's executive action facilitates a watered-down version of former President Trump's Remain in Mexico policy. Trump's policy was very effective. Granted, the Trump administration came into office and wasted no time in securing the border to prevent mass invasions we see during the Biden administration. So, Mexico has been implementing the policy and there is a noticeable decrease in some spots in Texas. Unfortunately, they have moved further west and now they invade Southern California and Arizona in large groups. 

Human traffickers aren't stupid. They just move further west along the southern border with the migrants they charge thousands of dollars to traffick. 

Mexico’s actions explain a plunge in arrivals to the U.S.-Mexico border, which dropped 40% from an all-time high in December and persisted through the spring. That coincided with an increase in migrants in Mexico without legal permission, data from the country’s immigration agency shows. U.S. officials mostly credit Mexican vigilance around rail yards and highway checkpoints.

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Those who provide services for migrants argue that they are running out of space and it only worsens when Mexico's northern border is secured.

“Mexico is the wall,” said Josue Martínez, a psychologist at Villahermosa’s only migrant shelter, Peace Oasis of the Holy Spirit Amparito, which was bracing for a crush of people under Biden’s measure to halt asylum processing when U.S. officials deem that the southern border is overwhelmed.

The small shelter has been scrambling since Mexico’s government began pushing people back two years ago. Last month, it housed 528 people, up from 85 in May 2022.

“What will we do when even more people arrive?” Martínez said. “Every time the United States does something to reinforce the northern border, we automatically know tons of people are coming to Villahermosa.”

Welcome to the party, pal. 

The migrants walk or take buses to Mexico City. There they can request an appointment to seek asylum by using the DHS app, CBP One. Most now are not making it far enough north for CBP One's location requirement.

There are checkpoints along Mexican highways. Migrants are pulled off buses by armed soldiers. The soldiers round up those walking along roads and in the mountains. The migrants claim they are extorted by law enforcement or Mexican migrant officials, according to those who were interviewed by the AP. After giving the officials money they were broke. They were bused back south. 

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This is a harsh way to control the flood of migrants but it's working. AMLO and his people wear the migrants down to the point they give up and quit trying to get across the border. Mexican authorities call the temporary detentions as humanitarian rescues.

That's the point. The open southern border in America is a humanitarian disaster. These migrants know that once they get to the U.S.-Mexico border, they will be allowed to stay in the United States. They travel through dangerous conditions and are exploited by nefarious actors along the way. That is not humane or compassionate. 

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David Strom 12:40 PM | July 23, 2024
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