US dollars in exchange for containing migrants in Chiapas

Anti-migrant raid in Pijijiapan dismantles caravan. Photo: Isaín Mandujano

By: Angeles Mariscal

A basic argument that without being new, is open and public for the first time, puts the migratory issue on the table: strengthening the economic relationship of Mexico with the United States, in exchange for containing thousands of migrants in Chiapas.

Marcelo Ebrard Casaubón, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, said it openly in the joint press conference he gave with officials from the Ministry of the Interior and the National Institute of Migration (INM), regarding migrant containment operations that since last February have sharpened in the state of Chiapas, Mexico’s southern border.

His first argument was: “to locate where we are in the relationship between Mexico and the United States. Well, first we should take into account that for the first time according to the official figures in January and February of this year, Mexico is the number one trading partner of the United States. ”

Then the numbers followed: in the first quarter of 2019 trade between both countries grew 3.4 percent. It is 97,418 billion dollars (…) new jobs and new investments and the support of American private sectors.

As another element, he referred to the meeting he held in Mérida with US businessmen, called CEO Dialogue, where according to Ebrard, the attendees said that they received “with great optimism the clear signals sent by the Government of Mexico to work decidedly to provide certainty, both legal and economic, that guarantees a healthy environment for investments,” which translates into 500 million dollars as an immediate investment.

“As you will understand, that relationship, if we are the main trading partner of the United States, far from being increasingly conflictive tends or should be or has to find a way to have a consistency as productive as possible (…) going against this relationship is very costly for Mexico and the United States,” Ebrard concluded.

And although later he wanted to clarify saying that there are “different points of view on several matters, one of them is immigration,” the fact is that the economic relationship with the United States is the decisive factor in the immigration policy of the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

At the conference, Alejandro Celorio Alcántara, deputy legal consultant of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the free movement of migrants is not a condition to which Mexico must adhere.

“The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, adopted in December in Marrakech, Morocco, December 2018, is what inspires the new migration policy”, and that would be ruled by “a safe, orderly and regular migration (… ) but also the sovereign right of states to define their immigration policy in accordance with their current domestic legislation. ”

To show flexibility to the 300,000 migrants from Central America, the Caribbean, Asia and Africa, who in the first quarter of 2019 entered the country through the southern border, federal government officials announced that they will expand, at least for all of Central America, the possibility of obtaining Regional Visitor cards, previously only reserved for migrants from Belize and Guatemala.

Olga Sánchez Cordero, Secretary of the Interior, warned that: “the orderly registration of migrants that enter our territory, is a precondition for the government to protect their human rights.

She detailed the unprecedented behavior in the migratory flow, of minors especially from Honduras. She said there are about a thousand Cubans in Chiapas, and hundreds from Africa and Asia, “who have also arrived in our country in unusual numbers.” All of them, she warned, must “respect our laws and our authorities (…) maintaining control of our southern border is not an option, it is an obligation of the Mexican State. We are doing it with order and in adherence to the law.

Tonatiuh Guillén López, INM Commissioner, also acknowledged that the Mexican Foreign Ministry made a regional socio-economic development agreement with the government of the United States and the countries of Northern Central America as a tool for the mobility of people, to occur in conditions of very personal decisions and not forced by external factors.

In fact, it is to establish an immigration containment center in Chiapas, it is to extend the United States border to this state, and therefore the operations to prevent the passage of migrants and prevent them from reaching the north.

One of them happened last Monday in the Pijijiapan municipality, where among the 371 people arrested were mostly women and children. “I really regret that there were many children, a third of the migratory flow is now made up of children, that is very worrying. It is not the responsibility of the Mexican State that the migration has that composition “said Guillén López.


Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee



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