Hundreds of Mexicans in Tijuana held a public protest against the presence of several thousand migrants, shouting slogans like “Mexico First!” and “No to the invasion!” The migrants are mostly from Honduras, trying to make asylum claims in the US. The Major of Tijuana, who has been photographed wearing a red “Make Tijuana Great Again” ball cap, has adopted a Trump-like view of the migrants. In an interview with Milenio TV he stated, “Sure, there are some good people in the caravan, but many are very bad for the city.” Tijuana has reported many arrests for migrants buying and using narcotics, and being drunk and disorderly — and for even more serious crimes like rape and battery.
The reaction to these 3,000 or so migrants showing up in Tijuana has a close parallel to the reaction here in the US, where it is estimated that as many as 29 million people may be in the country illegally. The Left tends to characterize this opposition to continued illegal immigration or asylum granted on a fear of returning to their country of origin as xenophobic and racist. This begs the question: Are the protesters in Mexico racist xenophobes as well?
Previously, when migrants were just passing through Mexico on their way into the US, there is no record of protest by Mexicans opposed to them doing so. But now the president has stepped up border enforcement and is requiring asylum requests to be made at a US Port of Entry. Because of backlogs, this may require the migrants to remain in Mexico for as long as 6 months before their claim is heard.
When it’s considered that asylum claims of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and El Salvador are rejected at rates between 75%-90%, a new problem exists. Mexico is now stuck with what could be tens of thousands of migrants who they will have to deport after their asylum petition is rejected in the US. And in the normal course of things these days a Federal Judge in San Francisco immediately ordered a stay on Trump’s order to limit asylum claims to US Ports of Entry. We will probably see a Supreme Court case that tries to balance the president’s broad authority to ensure we have secure borders and the power of Congress to make immigration laws.
In a sense, Trump’s move here seems very smart. Rather than Mexico just passing migrants through to the US border and letting the US foot the bill for the cost of deportation of rejected asylum claims, Mexico is now on the hook as well. If the president was looking for a way to exert pressure on Mexico to stop granting Transit Visas to Central American migrants, forcing them to support and deport thousands of migrants ineligible for US entry may do the trick. If Mexico acted to prevent migrants from crossing their southern border in the first place the flow of migrants from Central America into the US would slow to a trickle.