By Allan Wall, March 26, 2021
At his morning press conference on Tuesday, March 23rd, the Mexican president made some interesting comments about the current rush on the Biden Border which has resulted in so much chaos.
The Mexican president’s comments should be taken in context of the past few years of U.S.-Mexican relations; a little background is in order.
The Mexican president’s full name is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and he is often referred to (including in this blog post) by his initials AMLO.
AMLO is on the left end of the Mexican political spectrum, ran for president three times (2006, 2012, and 2018), and was overwhelmingly elected president in 2018, taking office that same year.
When AMLO became presidente of Mexico, Donald Trump was already president of the United States.
So how did Trump and AMLO get along? Very well, actually.
As president, AMLO never publicly criticized President Trump, and the Mexican president said that Trump was respectful of his administration. AMLO still speaks respectfully of Donald Trump, unlike many U.S. political leaders.
On immigration, AMLO was a big help to Trump in achieving a more restrictive immigration policy.
Hordes of illegal aliens from Central America (and elsewhere) were crossing through Mexico to get to the U.S-Mexico border. Mexico was letting most of them pass through, hoping, however, that they didn’t stay in Mexico.
President Trump was able to greatly improve this situation, by thinking outside the box and using his foreign policy authority to improve our immigration policy.
By means of a tariff threat to Mexico, Trump pressured the Mexican government into cracking down on its border with Guatemala, thereby drastically reducing the quantity of illegal aliens arriving to the U.S.-Mexican border. It was a great solution and also helped Mexico. Trump went on from there to make deals with Central American countries. (See What Donald Trump Accomplished.)
That was then, this is now. The Biden administration is now unraveling Trump’s border accomplishments.
Just as AMLO worked with President Trump, now he is working President Biden.
After all, the Mexican president has to deal with whomever the president of the United States is.
Back to the press conference of March 23rd.
On that occasion, the Mexican presidente discussed the rush on the Biden Border and what he thinks caused it. [My translation throughout]:
“The Biden administration gave people hope that there was going to be a better treatment of migrants and that caused the Central American migrants, and also those of our country, to want to cross the border, thinking that it is easier do it.”
Believe me, U.S. immigration policy and the debate over U.S. immigration policy are closely followed in Mexico and Central America (and elsewhere).
Biden’s campaign promises and policy changes stirred up many Central Americans (and others) to travel to the United States.
It’s not that AMLO disagrees with what Biden wants to do, he just thinks it can’t be accomplished immediately.
AMLO continued: “ … [T]he migratory policy of President Biden is very good, but it is going to take time. He [Biden] committed to regularize the situation of Mexican migrants and of other nationalities. [Amnesty, in other words.] That was a campaign promise, and he is going to comply. But they are just beginning to approve the laws in the U.S. Congress to bring about this commitment, to fulfill that commitment.
So it’s not that AMLO opposes Biden’s policies, it’s doubtful any Mexican president would. It’s just that he thinks “it is going to take time”.
… [I]t is a process, we are telling them, because there are also many human traffickers, the ‘coyotes’ who encourage the people to say ‘Now it’s easier to get to the U.S., let’s go’ … [T]here are risks, disgracefully, due to the violence. So we have to protect [the migrants] … ”
There is a lot of violence in Mexico, and many Central Americans have been victims of it on their perilous treks across Mexico.
Much had been accomplished through AMLO’s cooperation with Donald Trump; fewer illegal non-Mexicans were able to cross Mexico. But that’s being undone under President Biden.
The Mexican president, though supporting the Biden changes, can’t help but notice the ensuing chaos.
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