Saturday, September 14, 2019

President Trump’s Plan To Stem Border Crossings Gets Results

Alex Brandon/AP Photo
President Donald Trump’s plan to force Mexico to stem the flow of migrants across the southwest border of the U.S. appears to be working.
Border arrests, a metric for illegal crossings, plummeted to 51,000 in August, according to preliminary government figures obtained by POLITICO Wednesday, down more than 60 percent since a peak in May. And border watchers say it’s largely because of an agreement Trump struck with Mexico in June. Mexican authorities, backed by the newly formed National Guard, are now cracking down on migrants traversing Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala, monitoring river crossings and stopping buses carrying migrants from Central America through Mexico. At the same time, the U.S. is making tens of thousands of asylum seekers wait in Mexico while their applications are considered.
The decline in border traffic — if sustained — could amount to a major victory for Trump as he heads into the 2020 election. Perhaps more important, the experimental measures taken by his administration could reshape immigration enforcement for years to come.
“I think that they are getting exactly what they said they would get, by forcing the hand of Mexico,” said Oscar Chacón, executive director of Chicago-based pro-migrant group Alianza Americas. “But the question is, ‘Is it sustainable?’”
The White House and the Homeland Security Department did not respond to requests for comment. But Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Martha Bárcena told POLITICO that steps taken since June have produced meaningful results.
“People know that if they come into Mexico, they have to respect the Mexican law,” Bárcena said. She added that migrants planning to seek asylum in the U.S. now understand that it’s “not as easy as they were told it was going to be.”
Trump praised Mexico’s actions to reduce the migrant flow in a tweet Saturday that quoted Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, saying Mexico was “stepping up to the plate and doing what they need to do.”
Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence will meet in Washington Tuesday with Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard and other officials to discuss the counter-migration measures, according to Mexican officials.
Mexico’s delegation will press the U.S. to process asylum cases faster, as migrants from Central America and elsewhere pile up in Mexican border towns. It will also push for increased aid to Central America and efforts to stop the flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexico.
The Mexico agreement followed threats from Trump to impose across-the-board escalating tariffs on Mexican goods that would likely have resulted in severe economic costs on both sides of the border. When the agreement was announced, it was widely interpreted as a fig leaf that would allow Trump to back down but wouldn’t likely have much impact on migration.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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