For years Mexico has done its level best to export its own poverty to the United States, doing virtually nothing to stem the illegal flow of its citizens north of the border. The reason was simple: Money.
One of Mexico’s historic revenue streams in addition to energy (oil) and tourism has been the inflow of dollars from its citizens — remittances — working illegally in the U.S. In fact, according to 2016 data, these remittances superseded oil revenues as Mexico’s primary source of foreign income.
In other words, subsequent Mexican administrations have, for decades, used the United States as an employer, a social relief valve (unrest breeds from discontent and unemployment), and income.
In fact, according to Mexican media, remittances from foreign sources totaled more than $26 billion in 2017, the highest figure to date — and by far, the lion’s share of that came from the U.S.
Now, POTUS Trump wants Mexico to do more than it ever has in the past to help interdict the newest streams of migrants from Central America who are using Mexican soil as a pathway to America.
And, says Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, the Mexican government under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO, is responding to Trump administration demands to curb illegal immigration and interdict migrant caravans.
But clearly, it’s not enough. In fact, notes Krikorian, much of what the Mexican government has done in terms of ‘combating’ illegal immigration is launch an effective public relations campaign.
Mexican officials arrived in Washington, D.C., this week following POTUS Trump’s 5-percent tariff threat, which is scheduled to take effect June 10 and rise steadily to 25 percent over the course of this year if he doesn’t believe AMLO’s government is doing enough, One News Now reported. (Related: Trump border enforcement efforts lead to astounding 90 percent DROP in some sectors.)
In a statement aimed at POTUS Trump, AMLO nevertheless said that “social problems” are not solved with “duties or coercive measures,” The Associated Press reported. He went on to to play on our history as a ‘nation of immigrants’ — which is true.
But we are also a nation of immigration laws, which Mexico is facilitating. Krikorian notes, “There is lots of room for improvement obviously, but they've been much more cooperative than they have been before in trying to limit this flow of people from Central America.”
Nevertheless, he added, much of the assistance has just been for the Trump administration’s consumption, such as stopping migrant caravans at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“What they ended up doing was just getting people bus tickets to different places along the border to kind of spread them out,” Krikorian noted, “so that if they were going to cross they wouldn't be doing it all in one big unit, which would be bad optics, be incendiary.”
So, the so-called ‘cooperation’ is as much about creating the illusion that Mexico is helping when really, it isn’t doing nearly enough.
In fact, it’s not just the Mexican government shuttling migrants to the U.S. border so they can cross illegally. Drug-and-smuggling cartels are also getting in on the act, as The National Sentinel reported in March.
With so much border for the United States to control — it’s nearly 2,000 miles long, the boundary we share with Mexico — it is easy to pretend to be helping when in fact, Mexico City is barely lifting a finger because to do any more would be an economic disaster.