President Donald Trump’s repeated threats to close the U.S.-Mexico border may have influenced the country’s recent crackdown on migrants, USA Today reports.
Migrants from Central America have found “immigration checkpoints all along the highway” leading through Mexico, according to the newspaper, and migrant caravans were raided and the travelers arrested last April. Humanitarian visas that allow migrants to live and work in Mexico were cut off, and bus operators were recently ordered to stop carrying migrants. Local police in the southern states in Mexico have begun preventing migrants from entering town centers, and local citizens are no longer offering food, water, or clothing to migrants.
"The Mexican government is between a rock and a hard place here," Rachel Schmidtke, a program analyst for the Mexico Institute at the non-partisan Wilson Center in Washington, told USA Today. "It’s a very delicate balance that they're striking where they’re trying to do more a pragmatic immigration management strategy, but at the same time not wanting to have conflicts with their neighbor to the north."
Maureen Meyer, the non-partisan Washington Office on Latin America’s director for Mexico and migrant rights, told the newspaper that Trump’s threats to close the border, end foreign aid to Mexico and suspend NAFTA negotiations, along with his decision to cut of multiple Central American countries from foreign aid, has had a great impact on Mexico.
"That is different than the impact of having more wall, which at the end of the day, Mexico does not agree with, but would not impact Mexico as a country," she said. "It's certainly nothing compared to threats of closing one or two or all of the ports of entry. Those real, tangible and economic threats affect them way more."
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