Better late than never. Days after the U.S. closed its border with Canada to “non-essential” traffic, the Trump administration announced a similar move at the Mexican border.
President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the southern border would not close completely, but that asylum seekers and other foreigners trying to cross into the country illegally would be turned back immediately.
Under the policy invoked to counter the spread of the coronavirus, migrants apprehended between ports of entry (POE) along the Mexican border will be driven to the nearest POE and returned to that country.
Frankly, these types of turn-backs and expeditious removals should have been standard operating procedure at the first reports of COVID-19.
Noting the rising number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., Mexico’s minister of health audaciously suggested earlier this month that his government might close the border. Guadalajara will freeze over before that happens.
While nations across the globe tighten immigration controls, the tourist-sensitive Mexican regime has yet to impose any travel restrictions on people coming in or going out of the country.
“The only thing that kept the Mexican economy even close to positive territory last year was demand from the U.S. Mexico cannot survive without goods crossing the border,” explained Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.
Since coronavirus broke out in China’s Wuhan province, thousands of global migrants from countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have entered Mexico illegally via routes other than America’s southern border. U.S. immigration agents have detained nearly 400 Chinese nationals at the U.S.-Mexico border after the virus went public.
While Mexico has taken steps to address some of its border-security deficiencies during the past year, it is becoming clearer by the day that much more aggressive efforts are required throughout the country.
“What needs to be done right now is actual internal public health measures and building up the response capacity of the Mexican public health system, which is in a woeful state,” Wood says.
Following Washington’s action, Mexican security officials must get serious about controlling who enters their country, regardless of whether those folks are planning to stay or hoping to make it to the U.S. border.