With recent actions taken by the Trump administration, Mexico has taken a more significant role in curbing illegal immigration. Mexico has become a “safe country” for foreigners to wait while their cases are being processed in the United States. However, this has caused a massive increase in the number of illegal immigrants—from Latin American countries—residing in Mexico. This has prompted Mexican officials to crack down on illegal immigration.
A notable case took place in Tijuana during the fall of 2018, when the largest caravan from Central America entered the city. The mayor at that time announced that local police would arrest migrants for any crimes and send them to Mexico’s National Migration Institute to be processed for deportation. This, however, attracted the attention of immigrant rights activists in Mexico, such as Graciela Zamudio.
Zamudio and her organization, Alma Migrante, worked to weaken the application of the law against migrants. An attorney from Alma Migrante challenged the Tijuana local government in court. The court ruled against the mayor, banning police from deporting migrants based on “infracciones administrativas,” or petty crimes. This process put restraints on Mexico’s police departments while putting residents in danger of neighborhood crime.
As a result of these weak legal actions, President Trump threatened Mexico with tariffs to encourage more engagement on the other side of the border. As a result, Mexico is further securing its southern border and thoroughly evaluating caravans arriving from Honduras and Guatemala.
It is evident that much of the action needed to reduce illegal immigration must take place beyond the U.S.-Mexico border. As such, President Trump has worked extensively to reinforce new immigration policies with Mexico to prevent illegal immigrants from reaching the United States.
The recent deal included expansion of Mexico’s Migrant Protection Protocol, which requires Central American asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while waiting for the U.S. asylum proceedings. According to Voice of San Diego, more than 11,000 asylum seekers have been required to remain in Mexico, rather than in the United States. Mexico and the U.S. will continue to work together to deter illegal immigration and create safer communities in both countries.