Mexico cracks down on illegal migration

Latin America

Mexico cracks down on illegal migration

Mexico is making good on its promises to Washington to crack down on illegal migration. Detentions are up and so are deportations.

CGTN’s Alasdair Baverstock reports from Mexico City on the impact of this new get-tough policy.

Juan Domingo is a migrant from El Salvador. Currently in Mexico City. His goal is to cross the U.S. Border.

But rather than moving in a caravan, he’s taking his time and planning his steps carefully.

If detained by the Mexican authorities, he knows there’s little chance he’d be allowed to claim asylum and is near certain deportation would await him instead. It’s an outcome that brings fear.

He admits his own brush with gang activity in the past threatens his safety.

Juan isn’t the only Central American migrant to fear Mexican authorities. In the past few months, Mexico has deployed more than 21,000 National Guard troops to crack down on illegal immigration across the Southern border.

The action came in response to Donald Trump’s threat of trade tariffs on Mexican goods in May something the U.S. president has since taken off the table. The threat appears to be working.

In June alone, Mexico detained more than 30,000 migrants, more than triple the number apprehended that month last year. And it deported more than 19,000 people, an increase over last June of 150%.

With its previously porous southern border, and only sporadic enforcement of migration policies, Mexico’s new, get-tough approach is garnering criticism from some migrant advocates, who say the government is only worsening the crisis.

Mexico’s economy is getting the benefit of submitting to Trump’s demands.

It’s avoided the threatened tariffs and Mexico has become the United States’ top trading partner, capitalizing on the Trump administration’s ongoing trade conflict with China.

Yet there may be a political cost to this heightened economic status. International trade analyst Oscar de Leon says Mexico’s acquiescence to the U.S. damages its relations with other nations as well as its own national sovereignty.

The concern is that as Mexico enjoys its top spot in trade with the U.S., the political price it pays for its crackdown on Central American migration could be far more damaging in the long term.