• America. 2019, the bloodiest year in the recent history of Mexico
  • United States: Donald Trump wants to attract qualified immigrants

Donald Trump conquered the US presidency announcing the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico, but the refusal of Congress to extend the necessary funds for its construction has vanished the possibility of making its main electoral promise a reality. However, the US president can be satisfied: the arrival of migrants to their southern border has been reduced by 70% in the last six months and the US has not had to put a single dollar to get it.

The Mexican Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, appeared on December 26 to take advantage of the results achieved by his administration in immigration matters: "it is the most important reduction of flows in recent decades," he presumed, to detail later that the The American Border Patrol has gone from arresting more than 144,000 migrants in May, to just 43,000 in November, which implies a shocking 70% reduction. But how has it been achieved? The answer is not only attributable to Mexican humanitarian efforts, as Foreign Minister Ebrard intended to justify, but several factors that have significantly modified migration dynamics in the region come into play.

As explained to EL MUNDO.es Alberto Cabezas, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mexico , "there are multiple factors that influence the decisions of migrants, ranging from living conditions in their communities of origin until the difficulties of entry or integration in the countries of destination, going through the challenges of traveling to the country of destination ". These conditions began to change dramatically at the end of 2018 with the famous Migrant Caravans, described by Trump as "a national emergency" that had to be faced.

These massive exoduses were the perfect excuse for the US to begin demanding more responsibilities from its southern neighbors. First with the threat of raising tariffs on Mexican products by 5%, to which the Government of López Obrador responded with the deployment of the National Guard on the border with Central America and the promise to reduce the flow of undocumented immigrants. In parallel to these movements, Donald Trump stepped up negotiations to build a wall, in this bureaucratic case, that was going to trap migrants on their journey to the US.

The safe third country trap

Unilaterally, the US government approved the well-known 'Migration Protection Protocols', which oblige migrants who want to apply for asylum in the US to wait in Mexico while their procedures are resolved. According to the figures of the Mexican Ministry of the Interior, until mid-October, 51,407 Central Americans have been affected by this policy, being left homeless, in a legal limbo and unable to work on the dangerous northern border of Mexico.

Trump has also managed to establish an important bureaucratic stopper in the Northern Triangle of Central America. In July, less than half a year to complete its mandate, the Jimmy Morales government complied with the requirements of the United States to sign an agreement that, in practice, turns Guatemala into what is known as the third safe country. This measure implies that migrants seeking to apply for asylum in the US must do so before in the first country they go through and be considered 'safe'.

The Trump administration signed similar Asylum Cooperation Agreements with Honduras and El Salvador to complete its masterpiece and inexplicable for NGOs and experts: convert migrant-issuing countries into recipients and managers of their own misery . This situation leaves two options for those who pursue the American dream: to submit to the underground by crossing borders illegally or resigning themselves and turning their American dream into Mexican or Central American. In this situation and, according to the IOM spokesperson: "Mexico is becoming a destination country for international migrants, some of whom stay in this country because they cannot enter the US as they had planned."

As Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard revealed, until November 30, 2019, about 67,000 applications for shelter were registered, an increase of 125% over the previous year. The task is overflowing the capabilities of the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR), so far they have only been able to solve 3% of all applications and must face 2020 with less than half of the budget that had requested the Mexican Congress To face the crisis.

To compensate for this situation, Mexico has extended visitor cards , which allow migrants to transit and work temporarily in the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca (the most impoverished in the country) and which have increased by 183% in recent months. These southern states have been precisely the first beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Development Plan, financed by Mexico and the US, and which to date is the main commitment to improve living conditions at the origin of the crisis.

Foreign Minister Ebrard defended that Mexico's approach to addressing the crisis is "as humane as possible" and presumed that until November "280,000 migrants were rescued." What did not explain was what happened to those people, but most likely a good part of them (those who did not have their regularized status) were deported immediately. According to the National Migration Institute, in the last year Mexico has deported 118,000 people to their countries of origin, becoming the country that deportes most Central Americans, ahead of the United States.

From the IOM they also observe with concern the change of dynamics in the region, as their spokesperson in Mexico confesses to EL MUNDO.es: "the region continues to have several challenges, including those of achieving higher levels of development and security for its inhabitants That's where in the medium and long term there should be profound changes. " Donald Trump has failed in his promise to build a wall, but has achieved a more significant victory: impose bureaucratic barriers in Central America and make Mexico his great unexpected ally, now becoming the true guardian of the southern border.

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