President Trump’s election revitalized flagging border agents and infused ICE with fresh powers. Obama’s administration fumbled with immigration policy. The former president deported hordes of violent criminals, but he also severely weakened our borders and manipulated the law so illegals could stay in the U.S. while their cases were being decided.
Now that Trump has assumed office, undocumented migrants are being sent home at unprecedented rates. Crossing the border is becoming increasingly difficult. Illegals are pooling in Mexico, unable to go farther north and unwilling to go south. The government expects to process at least 5 times as many refugee applications in 2017 than 2015.
“We don’t know if they are here to enjoy themselves or to make trouble…I met one Guatemalan who told me about the violence. It’s terrible. And her family couldn’t earn a living wage,” Carmen Dama, Tenosique resident told the Christian Science Monitor.
“We are getting the good and the bad,” she added.
For years Mexico watched as its citizens penetrated the U.S. and lived in the shadows. The government did almost nothing to stop illegal immigration. Activists chanted about the supposed harmlessness of undocumented migrants.
Recently the violence in Central America sparked a new refugee crisis. Migrants abandoned their homes and flooded into Mexico. Most hope to eventually settle in America, but Trump’s administration has made that dream impossible for many.
So instead, they’re remaining in Mexico. Cities across the country are glutted with refugees and economic migrants.
“Just like in other parts of the world, in Mexico there’s the question of who are these people. Are they criminals? Do they deserve asylum here?” asks José Luis Loera, director of Casa Refugiados, a Mexico City-based nongovernmental organization. “Xenophobia is more and more present in Mexican society.”
Apparently undocumented migrants are a boon to society…Unless of course it’s your society that’s affected. Mexicans overwhelmingly supported migrants right to flout international laws until their own country became inundated with requests for asylum.
Mexico’s economy can hardly be said to be thriving, but the country’s standard of living is significantly higher than a lot of its neighbors. Many of the migrants who fail to enter the U.S. settle for living in Mexico because it’s an improvement over the lives they left.
Living conditions are however, too tough to provide ample living for everyone. Most of the migrants are unable to find employment and are reduced to begging. Many of the nation’s cities boast an average daily wage of only $5. There’s just not enough wealth for everyone to thrive.
“Central American migrants are still coming, but they are more invisible now, even to shelters,” says Jose Knippen, a human rights researcher at Mexico City think tank. “The message the government is sending with detaining and deporting migrants quickly is that the migrants aren’t the priority of this policy…Nothing will happen to you if you steal from a migrant because they will be deported anyway.”
Migrants are both instigators and victims of violence. Thousands of vicious gang members are fleeing from Central America and bringing their rage with them, while migrant’s shadowy legal status induces others to victimize them. It’s an awful cycle.
According to the Monitor: “The extreme rise in violence in Central America, where El Salvador surpassed Honduras last year as the country with the highest homicide rate outside of war, plays a fundamental role in the steady uptick in refugee applications from the region. Central American requests for refugee status in Mexico went from 1,300 in 2013 to nearly 9,000 last year.”
Huge swaths of the globe are currently afflicted by a paralyzing refugee crisis. Bad government, radical Muslims, and vicious Hispanic gangs are destroying their neighborhoods and sending residents fleeing. No country can support the world’s poor. Impoverished people don’t improve their lives by leeching off of others, not really. The very stability that they desire is threatened by their movements. Europe, America, Canada, country after country has been negatively impacted by illegal immigration.
“There are few Mexican government programs for integration or education, observers say, which means civil society and large international organizations are picking up the slack. Their efforts are often small in scale, but they represent a first step toward building a refugee support network,” reporters note.
Central American immigrants don’t need a vast Mexican support system; they need to feel safe in their own homes. The pathway for their happiness is through their own governments. Problems aren’t solved by ignoring them. The violence ripping Central America apart isn’t eased by illegal immigration. Mexico’s already strained resources can’t protect thousands of refugees in addition to its own citizens.
If the current flow of refugees continues at the same rate, Mexican politicians will be forced to take a harsher stance on illegal immigration.