Mexico is rejecting a U.S. request for a safe third-country agreement. It would have required asylum seekers traveling through Mexico to first claim asylum there.
The Mexican Foreign Minister has been in Washington, meeting with top Trump administration officials. CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.
Earlier this year, Mexico established a National Guard with, at least, one objective: to stem the flow of migrants heading north, many of them from Central America, coming via Mexico.
Declaring Mexico a safe third-country would effectively ensure none of those people could claim asylum in the U.S. For Mexico, that was a hard no.
Still, Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign minister, said, thanks to his country’s measures, there’s been progress: “We’ve had a reduction in the number of people coming from Central America, about 70-percent. And another reduction in the number of Mexicans heading north, 7-percent. In short, Mexico is getting results.”
He also said that Mexico is financing some 60,000 jobs in Central America, to create economic opportunities there.
On Tuesday, Ebrard met with his American counterpart, Mike Pompeo, as well as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. A White House readout of the meeting read, “The Vice President acknowledged the Government of Mexico’s meaningful and unprecedented steps to help curb the flow of illegal immigration to the U.S. border since the launch of the U.S.-Mexico Declaration in Washington on June 7, 2019.”
But Trump’s Acting Commissioner for U.S. Customs & Border Protection Mark Morgan said Mexico must do more, that it must step-up immigration enforcement: “There are specific targeted areas that we’re going to, we continue to talk to them that they need to do more. I am concerned, whether the government of Mexico including our partners the Northern Triangle countries are gonna be able to sustain the level of commitment they have.”
Ebrard said that tone was unacceptable and stressed that this downward trend in migration is permanent.
From the U.S.’s point of view, this meeting was about curbing immigration. But from Mexico’s perspective, it was also about curbing the arms crossing south.
Ebrard added that, “Our goal is to find out how many illicit guns are coming into Mexico from the U.S. at the moment, who is trafficking them, and to verify exactly how they are getting in our country.”
Violence in Mexico has claimed tens of thousands of lives. Most of the illegal weapons used in the violence have come from the U.S. And American authorities have done little to stop it.
For years, Mexico has wanted that changed. And Ebrard on Tuesday suggested that he finally got some sort of commitment from the White House that it will take action on that issue, too.