When the US struck a deal with Mexico earlier this year as a way to improve the conditions at the two nations’ borders, the Trump administration and America as a whole were hopeful that it would work. However, many have been concerned that Mexico may not hold to their end of the bargain as well since it appeared they were hesitant to even begin negotiations, let alone compromise on much of anything.
However, the country to the south of us has proved those concerns ill-founded and continues to meet out punishment for those who are illegally trying to enter the US.
Their most recent action outside of the southern Mexican city of Tapachula shows this.
This week a caravan of about 2000 migrants coming from the Caribbean, Central America, and Africa set out on foot from the city, headed towards the north and the US. However, they didn’t get too far before Mexican National Guardsmen, and federal police greeted them and would not allow them to continue on.
About 20 miles outside of the city, the highway they were traveling on became blocked on both sides by Mexican authorities clad in helmets and tactical vests. Most of the migrants were able to be detained and then placed on buses to take them back south to Tapachula and the Guatemalan border. Some had to be chased down and forcibly forced back, while others agreed to walk back of their volition.
Acting commissioner of customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan tweeted Sunday, “Mexico’s enhanced border security efforts along their southern border continue to have a dramatic impact on this regional crisis. I just returned from Mexico where we had collaborative discussions on stemming the flow of illegal migration throughout the region.”
In years past, Tapachula, a city just north of Mexico’s border with Guatemala, has been known as a center of immigration for those seeking to end up in the US or Canada. There, thousands have received transit visas that allow them to travel throughout Mexico and make their way to the US.
However, as part of the deal struck between the US, Mexico has agreed to limit the number of these transit visas that are issued. Thousands of migrants can be found within Tapachula on a daily basis waiting for these visas or other official Mexican documents from the government.
After waiting for a seemingly endless amount of time or being denied their visas, migrants are encouraged to head back south, where they came from. However, many choose to illegally continue north, trying to reach the US. this leads to clashes between impatient and restless migrants and the Mexican authorities charged with keeping them from traveling northward.
Deploying National Guardsmen for this task is not the only effort Mexico has taken to help the US with the immigration crisis. After being threatened by the Trump administration with hefty tariffs on their US exports, the Mexican government agreed to also help keep thousands of migrant asylum seekers in their country rather than pushing them through into the overcrowded immigration process on US soil.
The Remain in Mexico policy requires those seeking asylum to just that. They are to remain in Mexico until their scheduled adjudicated court date in the US immigration courts where they receive their official government papers or are selected to be deported. That is unless they meet certain exceptions.
The new policy has lessened the strain on detainment centers and ICE facilities throughout the south, as many migrants that would be held for months a time waiting for their court date are now no longer on American soil.
This means that money spent on their basic needs and care can be diverted to other areas of the immigration process where funding is lacking, such as the care of unaccompanied migrant children.
No, the system isn’t perfect, and it most certainly has some flaws that need to be addressed. However, the situation as a whole is getting better for both Mexico and the US, thanks to the combined efforts of their governments working together towards a common goal.