Since taking office in 2016, President Trump has made it clear that Mexico needs to increase its role in combating illegal immigration into the United States. After intense pressure and stern rhetoric towards the Mexican government, it finally appears that Mexican officials have begun to address illegal immigration in their country, proving that it can now be considered as a crucial partner in securing our nation’s borders.
Mexico’s actions in the last six months have been unprecedented and have undoubtedly helped the United States protect its southern border. When the first migrant caravan departed from Honduras months ago, Mexican officials were quick to respond to secure its southern border. From sending planes filled with Mexican federal forces to deploying additional helicopters and boats, the immediate actions from the Mexican government revealed a willingness to combat illegal immigration for the first time in many years.
Aside from fortifying its own borders, the government then extended a generous amount of work visas and asylum applications to the caravan of migrants, which ultimately help decrease and mitigate the flow of economic migrants posing as asylum seekers into the United States. Its tone towards the migrants has shifted too, with Mexican officials telling them, “get in line and you can enter our country.”
Efforts did not stop here, however. Weeks after being elected as Mexico’s new president this fall, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and his administration presented a plan to further reduce illegal immigration and frivolous asylum claims into the United States and Mexico. A new plan from the Mexican government reveals that $30 billion would be devoted to Central American development, with the goal of keeping migrants from fleeing their countries.
With the several thousand migrant caravanners already residing in Tijuana, the new administration additionally relocated the migrant camp 11 miles away from the U.S. border. While still a relatively short distance to the border, the increased distance from the ports of entry make it much more difficult for migrants to cross illegally or potentially storm the border as they did in late November.
AMLO’s actions have not gone unnoticed. Earlier this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went on to say, “The incoming administration has been great,” and has been working closely with the U.S. to curb the flow of migrants reaching the country. While there is still much work left to do, the relationship with Mexico is vital and thanks to the Trump administration’s diplomatic efforts, there is reason to hope that the relationship will continue to strengthen.