Guy W. Farmer: Mexico stops Central American ‘Migrant Caravan’

The left-leaning Washington Post, which opposes the Trump administration at every turn, last week reported Mexican authorities had stopped a 1,000-person Central American “migrant caravan” that was headed for the United States. Here’s a surprising fact: Mexicans don’t like illegal immigrants any more than we do.

“The Mexican government moved to break up the caravan of migrants moving through southern Mexico,” wrote Post reporters Joshua Partlow and David Agren. “Some could receive humanitarian visas (to stay in Mexico) while others would have to leave.” This action by Mexican authorities is consistent with that nation’s tough approach to illegal immigration, which is why my hypocrisy meter goes crazy when Mexicans accuse us of mistreating illegal immigrants.

Mexico deports tens of thousands of migrants trying to cross its southern border with Guatemala each year, and doesn’t worry about their alleged “rights.” The National Geographic — yes National Geographic, not Fox News or the Wall Street Journal — reported a few years ago “for many immigrants heading north, the first dangerous crossing isn’t the one into the U.S. It’s southern Mexico where the peril begins.” Investigative journalist Cynthia Gorney wrote illegal immigrants from Central America face “thugs, drug runners, extortionists in official uniforms, police and migration agents who pack them into filthy detention facilities before deporting them.”

A southern Mexico shop owner told Ms. Gormley he opposes illegal immigration on grounds Guatemalans are “too servile,” Hondurans too “gang-inclined” and Salvadorans too “hot-headed.” Sound familiar? I hereby confess at the American Embassy in Mexico City we used to joke illegal immigrants detained by Mexican police had two choices: (1) the police beat them up and take their money, or (2) they take their money and beat them up before deporting them. Either way, the result was the same.

Ms. Gorney said it in a much more diplomatic way: “Mexican officials don’t worry about PC niceties or legal technicalities when they round up illegals and summarily deport them.” Many of those Central American border-crossers ask Mexican authorities for asylum, but Mexico is much less generous than we are in granting asylum. According to Amnesty International, 14,596 people asked Mexico for asylum last year, but only 1,907 asylum petitions were approved, about 13 percent of those who applied.

President Trump’s decision to deploy National Guard troops along the border should convince Mexican officials he’s serious about enforcing U.S. immigration laws. Mexicans now seem to understand Trump’s approach to illegal immigration, but “open borders” advocates here in the U.S., including California Gov. Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown, reject Trump’s message and encourage illegal immigration.

At least two populous California counties — Orange and San Diego — intend to sue their own state government after Brown declared California to be a “sanctuary state,” with more lawsuits to follow. In a sanctuary state local law enforcement officials are prohibited from cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to enforce federal immigration laws. This means criminals who have been convicted of felonies like burglary and sexual assault are released back onto the streets of California cities, with predictable results.

While Mexico is struggling to deal with a vast influx of Central American asylum seekers, migrant caravans are often infiltrated by organized crime. “These kinds of caravans are utilized by people who aren’t migrants,” said Jorge Andrade, a spokesman for an organization that helps migrants in Mexico. He told the Washington Post some caravan migrants are drug traffickers and illegal immigrant smugglers.

So be suspicious when “open borders” advocates extol the virtues of illegal immigration. There’s nothing virtuous about drug traffickers or “coyotes” who abuse illegal immigrants.

Guy W. Farmer, a retired diplomat, follows immigration issues closely.


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