Mexico bows to Pres. Trump on 'containment' of illegal aliens
Mexico bowed to President Trump's border security demands by agreeing to set up a Central American illegal alien "containment" belt 2,200 miles south of San Diego.
Mexico's socialist president, Andrés Manuel López-Obrador, known as "AMLO," trumpeted after his huge July victory that he sympathized with migrants suffering from "hunger and poverty." He promised to slash funds dedicated to border control and claimed that he would stand up to any of President Trump's bullying tactics.
A recent Rasmussen Reports national poll revealed that a survey high of 35 percent of "Likely U.S. Voters" believe immigration to be the most urgent issue for Congress to address. But AMLO must have been confident that President Trump's hands were tied by the "Russiagate" investigation. He probably assumed that Democrats would either squeeze Trump out of office or continue to emasculate his ability to take major retaliatory actions.
But after Trump was exonerated by the special counsel, AMLO quickly dispatched his interior secretary, Olga Sánchez-Cordero, to meet with U.S. secretary of homeland security Kirstjen Nielsen in Miami on March 27.
Secretary Sánchez offered a Mexican Federal Police and military "containment" belt across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the narrowest part of the country and very close to the southern border with Guatemala. When asked about the breakthrough with Mexico, Secretary Nielsen said: "It's going to be a big change."
The U.S. Border Patrol's "Southwest Border Apprehensions" report for the month of February 2019 showed that 672,000 aliens were apprehended between ports of entry on the southwest border, up about 85 percent from the prior year.
But the Trump administration's sensitivity to illegal immigration is especially high with a "caravan" of 2,500 Central American and Cuban migrants heading up southern Mexico now and the "Mother of all Caravans" forming in Honduras with 20,000 migrants.
Nielsen emphasized to Sánchez that the Border Patrol under President Trump deported at least 76,000 migrants to their countries of origin in February, and expects to deport about 90,000 this month and will remove 900,000 illegal aliens by year end.
Secretary Sánchez trumpeted the launch of a new era of Mexican security cooperation:
We are going to locate our migration installations, of Federal Police and civil protection, harmoniously and with collaboration among all the federal government agencies in such a way that we have containment in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
President Trump hit Twitter on March 28 with new threats of U.S.-Mexico border closure:
"Mexico is doing NOTHING to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants to our Country." He added, "They are all talk and no action. Likewise, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have taken our money for years, and do Nothing."
The usually bombastic President López-Obrador sought to calmly reassure the Trump administration that Mexico is now committed to a "very respectful relationship" with the United States to stop immigrant-smuggling. He added: "We are going to do everything we can to help. We don't in any way want a confrontation with the U.S. government."