TRUMP: STRAW THREATS
A La Jornada Editorial
In another turn of his speech about the border that the United States shares with Mexico, President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that “for the moment” he would not totally or partially close the border crossings as he had threatened to do last Friday, when for the first time he issued an ultimatum in that regard. According to the president, for now he can suspend the drastic measure because the government of Mexico “is detaining thousands of people at its southern border.” In what seems an effort to point the perception of alarm transmitted by Trump, the US Office of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) closed two of the eight lanes of the entry gate located at Otay Mesa due to what it called “an unprecedented humanitarian and security crisis.”
The magnate’s statements and those of the agency in charge of customs are completely inconsistent with the reality. First, because in recent days there has not been a drastic change in the policy that the Mexican government has been applying since December of last year with respect to the Central American migrants that enter the nation on their way to the United States, much less has it undertaken the mass detentions to which Trump referred. Second, because the number of people without immigration documents that arrive in the United States is very far from the historic maximums; therefore, it is totally fallacious to speak of an “unprecedented crisis.”
In this context, the fact that the Republican politician backs down on his latest series of threats suggests pressure from the American business community for conjuring up such complete nonsense, whose consequences would be catastrophic even in the short term: just one day of commercial exchanges by that means represents up to 2 billion dollars for companies on both sides of the border. For the automotive industry in the United States the scenario would be particularly disastrous, because just one week of closing the border could see everything paralyzed due to the lack inputs coming from Mexican territory.
For the rest, the decision to suspend the reckless ultimatum shows, above all, that behind this and previous episodes is not but a propagandistic strategy designed by the old television presenter to show the image of a bold, aggressive and thoughtless macho man that that so appeals to the most backward sectors of the American electorate, precisely those whose loyalty to Trump has remained unperturbed. In sum, the causes and rhythms of these outbursts should not be sought at the border or in the migratory flows but rather in the electoral calendar of the magnate and his party.
What’s serious and regrettable about this propagandistic demagogic extend and release is that the theater of the “border emergency” restricts access to refugees and asylum seekers and it reinforces the perspective that a real humanitarian crisis is developing.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Thursday, April 5, 2019
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee