The Trump Administration is moving heaven and earth to limit the influx of immigrants, especially Central Americans, at the US-Mexico border. Although the United States has aided Mexico in anti-immigration efforts for years, Trump’s government offered the Mexican government $20 million more to fund planes and buses that’d take immigrants back to their countries of origin.
Though the offer enraged many, Mexico’s exiting president, Enrique Peña Nieto, issued a statement considering Trump’s proposal. But president-elect Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) rejected the offer via his state secretary, who said, “This offer has not been on the table at all.”
Lopez Obrador’s plan to combat immigration is rather progressive. The incoming administration hopes to remedy the poverty and violence that force immigrants to leave the country. “There have been high level joint meetings, so we can be successful in booming the North-Central American triangle that are the biggest ejectors,” said Olga Sánchez Cordero, the incoming state secretary. “What Andrés Manuel wants is for people to immigrate for pleasure, not necessity.”
This is not the first time Mexican authorities reject the Trump Administration’s plans for reducing the influx of undocumented immigrants. In 2016, the Department of Homeland Security issued two memos outlining strategies for cracking down on illegal immigration from Central America. One of the strategies, which entailed deporting Central Americans to Mexico even if that’s not their country of origin, did not sit well with Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, who issued a statement saying he was willing to take the case to the United Nations. “We are not going to accept it because we don’t have to accept it and because it is not in the interests of Mexico,” Videgaray said.
The Trump Administration’s $20 million offer would help deport close to 17,000 immigrants as part of a “migrant removals pilot.” Officials have briefed congressional staff about the offer in the last week. The program would make Mexico responsible for interdiction, detention, asylum adjudication, and other proceedings. Granted, this is not the first time the United States has offered to pay Mexico for immigration enforcement, and in fact, gave a $24 million funding for equipment and training assistance to Mexico’s National Migration Institute.
But it seems incoming president Lopez Obrador is looking for alternative ways to combat mass migration.