In her hit version of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” American folk singer Judy Collins famously sang, “I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down, and still somehow, it’s cloud’s illusions I recall….”
According to The Los Angeles Times two American immigration lawyers may have gotten a look at border enforcement from both sides now. And they may wish to heed Ms. Collins’ admonition about clouds giving rise to misleading illusions.
The Times is reporting that two “U.S. immigrant rights attorneys and two journalists who have worked closely with members of a migrant caravan in Tijuana said they had been denied entry into Mexico in recent days after their passports were flagged with alerts by an unknown government.” Predictably, the affected parties have blamed the Trump administration, accusing it of retaliating against them for their opposition to President Trump’s immigration policies.
The attorneys, Nora Phillips and Erika Pinheiro, work for a nonprofit group called Al Otro Lado (Spanish for “the other side”). The group describes itself as “a bi-national, direct legal services organization serving indigent deportees, migrants, and refugees in Tijuana, Mexico.”
In reality, however, Al Otro Lado is part of a network of pro-illegal-alien organizations that regularly lodges questionable lawsuits against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These complaints are intended to prohibit immigration officers from performing their lawfully assigned duties. And they are nearly always filed in the Ninth Federal Judicial Circuit, which is both well known for judicial activism and overtly hostile to any type of immigration enforcement.
So, yes, it is entirely possible that the U.S. government flagged Mmes. Phillips and Pinheiro, placing them on some type of watchlist. That would be particularly likely if either the Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland Security were concerned that Al Otro Lado was sending employees to Mexico in order to encourage caravan-members to file bogus complaints against CBP or ICE personnel.
However, no U.S. federal agency has publicly announced that it has any fears that Al Otro Lado, or any of its employees, are engaged in any type of illegal activity. Therefore, another explanation for Phillips’ and Pinheiro’s exclusion from Mexico is much more probable: they simply wore out their welcome.
Mexican authorities are already faced with a volatile foreign mob camped out in Tijuana and causing conflict with the local Tijuaneros. Another caravan of Central Americans is on the way and expected to arrive in the greater Tijuana area sometime this week.
Thus, it is more than likely that the authorities in Mexico City just determined that they did not want more foreign agitators making the situation worse. As a sovereign nation, Mexico is not under any obligation to allow American attorneys into its territory to advise illegally present Hondurans, Nicaraguans and Salvadorans on how to get into the United States.
Rather than President Trump “retaliating” against open-borders activists, it might well be that Mexico has simply begun looking at border enforcement from both sides now. That’s a positive development.
Meanwhile the activist lawyers of Al Otro Lado seem so lost in the clouds that all they can recall are anti-Trump illusions.