A group of prominent Mexican citizens is developing plans to fight the Trump administration on deporting illegals from the United States by encouraging them to pack immigration courts to push the already overburdened system into a breakdown.
"The backlog in the immigration system is tremendous," former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda, told The Wall Street Journal.
The objective is to double or triple the backlog, "until Trump desists in this stupid idea," he said.
The strategy by the group — called Monarca, after the butterflies that migrate across North America — would include advertising campaigns advising illegals to take their cases to court and fight deportation from the U.S. if detained, the Journal reports.
The organization — also consisting of legislators, governors and public figures — was scheduled to meet Saturday with migrant groups in Phoenix to discuss efforts to beat back the Trump administration’s deportation policy, the Journal reports.
Members also are expected to meet with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake to underscore how President Trump's agenda could affect U.S. relations with Mexico.
"Mexico is helping on the fight on terror and that collaboration should be put under review given the attitude of Trump," Armando Ríos Piter, a senator with the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, told the Journal. "It’s important to make clear to them the possible consequences if Trump keeps a hostile and aggressive stance."
Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Saturday that 160 illegals were arrested during a five-day sweep in Southern California, targeting "criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants, and immigration fugitives."
Those included a Salvadoran gang member wanted in his country and a Brazilian drug trafficker, The Associated Press reports.
ICE said that 200 people were arrested in the operations in Georgia and the Carolinas, according to NBC News.
Monarca's plans have not been endorsed by the Mexican government, according to the Journal, but it has allocated $50 million to assist migrants facing deportation.
In addition, President Enrique Peña Nieto has directed Mexico's 50 consulates in the U.S. to defend migrants.
The Foreign Ministry said Thursday that it had stepped up efforts to protect illegals, "foreseeing the hardening of measures by immigration authorities in the U.S., as well as possible constitutional violations during raids or in due process."
Monarca is also examining whether to push the United States to provide documentation that illegals being deported are indeed Mexicans — the country currently accepts them without documentation — while other Mexican legislators are working on laws that would block the government from allocating funds to build a border wall.
Other measures being weighed are retaliatory measures should the U.S. move to tax or block remittances to Mexico from migrants in the U.S., or to levy a border tax on Mexican exports, the Journal reports.
"We want to be friends — but in the face of continued hostility, we don’t have to keep a friendly attitude forever," said Arturo Zamora, a senator in President Peña Nieto’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party.
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