While President Joe Biden fails to end the crisis at the Southwest border, Mexico is taking steps to mitigate illegal immigration headed to the United States. Since February, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has directed his administration to halt the large numbers of economic migrants traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border. The Mexican head of state has continued these efforts by empowering interior enforcement operations throughout his country.
According to Reuters, on September 5, personnel from Mexico’s National Institute of Migration and National Guard dispersed a U.S.-bound migrant caravan in the southern Mexican town of Huixtla. The caravan, comprised of more than 400 migrants mainly from Central America, Cuba, Venezuela, and Haiti, is the fourth organized expedition of migrants from southern Mexico in a week.
Prior to halting the caravans, President Lopez Obrador instructed migrants to wait in the Mexican border state of Chiapas until their asylum applications were processed. Moreover, Mexican law requires foreign nationals to remain in the state where they initially filed for asylum until their case is completed. Migrants cited their dissatisfaction with staying in the southern Mexican state as a reason to join these caravans.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR) has experienced an unprecedented number of asylum applications so far during 2021. Between January and July, COMAR received more than 64,000 asylum claims. This figure is more than the total of asylum requests made in 2020. Mexico has attributed the influx of asylum applications to the Biden administration’s open border policies, as migrants use Mexico as a transit point to reach the United States. This should not come as a surprise, as other Latin American nations have pointed to President Biden as the catalyst for their respective countries experiencing higher levels of illegal immigration.
While our southern neighbors step up to enforce their immigration laws, the Biden administration continues to fumble with basic policies that would reduce the record-breaking number of apprehensions at our border. Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that the administration must reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which requires migrants applying for asylum in the U.S. to wait in Mexico until their application is reviewed. The MPP proved to be an effective tool in mitigating illegal immigration and asylum fraud. If President Biden is serious about reining in unchecked migration at the southern border, he should ensure that the MPP regains full operational status without delay or modification.
Mexico’s enforcement efforts have shown to be helpful, but the onus to secure our border falls on the U.S. Government. It should be discomforting to the American president that Mexico is doing more to secure the southern border than his administration. While other countries should mitigate the streams of illegal migration flowing through them, the U.S. must also enforce its immigration laws.