Migratory emergency in Mexico

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Internal disputes in the United States continue to condition border agreements with their southern neighbor, crossed by a caravan of thousands of migrants

Migration is, along with security and trade, a discussion that shapes the bilateral relationship between Mexico and the United States and, at the same time, the challenge that most determines the balances of regional politics in Latin America.

This week, Andrés Manuel López Obrador received the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, to address an emergency that has worsened in recent months. While the Mexican president and the senior officials of the Joe Biden Administration analyzed the situation, a new caravan of thousands of people advanced towards the northern border, where one of the most disastrous years is about to close: at the beginning of December, detentions were close to 10,000 every week and the number of deaths threatens to exceed 560 from the previous year.

Since the beginning of Biden’s mandate, at least a dozen meetings of these characteristics have been held. They all end with a background harmony but with disagreements about the formulas to face the phenomenon. On this occasion, the meeting was requested by the White House, which periodically presses for Mexico to act as a containment wall on the southern border between the State of Chiapas and Guatemala. That is the bottleneck where tens of thousands of migrants, mostly from Central America, Venezuela, Haiti or Cuba and with a history of misery and violence behind them, are concentrated, waiting to leave for the north.

One of the demands of the US delegation was precisely to divert part of the migrants to that region, in addition to greater control of the railways and some incentives such as visas and work permits in the transit countries. The Mexican Foreign Minister, Alicia Bárcena, underlined the friendly tone of the meeting and celebrated the creation of a team that will work together with other Central American countries. However, Mexico’s claim has always been the same: Washington must increase the resources allocated to the crisis. And this is where a problem that can only have a regional solution links with the domestic disputes of the United States.

Biden arrived at the White House in January 2021 with the purpose of “humanizing” migration after the hard hand imposed by Donald Trump. However, with the 2024 electoral campaign at the gates, the Democratic president has hardened his speech. To this is added the political use of the emergency by the Republican Party, whose bench intends to get the Government to limit the granting of asylum to 5,000 people per day in exchange for supporting aid to Ukraine. Any agreement will have to wait: last week, the Senate went on vacation without reaching a consensus. Whatever happens, it will always be too late to face this humanitarian emergency.

Source: El Pais