Some outlets are reporting Mexico is going to build a wall against migrants. [Mexico builds its own wall against migrants, by James Fredrick and Jude Webber, Financial Times, September 14, 2016]. (The article is paywalled, but you can access it here).
But the title is misleading. It’s not a literal wall, but a metaphorical “wall,” and not even an effective one.
The piece takes the view of a Central American planning to come to the United States and claims “Mexico already acts as a formidable barrier.” It also quotes a nun who runs a shelter for illegals in Mexico City. She moans: “Mexico has become a wall for migrants. The current [Mexican] policy is to arrest migrants to stop them from getting to the US border.”
Thus, the term “wall” is a metaphor for “some Central Americans get caught in Mexico and deported back to Central America.” Not very impressive.
The Mexican policy for dealing with its own illegals is a hodgepodge. Though Mexico doesn’t have walls on its borders with Guatemala and Belize, Mexican authorities do detain and deport illegal aliens. And the American government has reportedly put pressure on Mexico to do more. Nonetheless, plenty are still getting through. According to the article, Mexico deported a record 175,000 Central Americans last year, but the United Nations estimates 400,000 enter Mexico annually.
There is a pre-election “surge” of illegals on the U.S.-Mexican border, as migrants want to get in now regardless of who wins. If Hillary wins, they expect amnesty. If Trump wins, they expect The Wall.
We’ve been told for some time now there is zero net Mexican immigration to the United States [More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to U.S., by Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, Pew, November 19, 2015] But this misses the point. Illegals coming across the southern border are coming from Mexico. As Mexico can’t or won’t stop them, we need a barrier on our border with Mexico.
Which brings us to another question. If Trump wins the election and builds The Wall, the Mexican government may be stuck with Central Americans who can’t continue north to the U.S. And they really don’t want that.
In 2012, after the election of current Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto but before his inauguration, his coordinator Arnulfo Valdivia discussed the new administration’s goal in this area. The new Mexican president wanted “to create the necessary filters so that those who cross by the southern border [of Mexico] do not stay stranded in their attempt to cross to the United States. “Valdivia also said a goal was to “diminish the number of indocumentados [illegal aliens] who are concentrated on the northern border [of Mexico] without possibilities of crossing it, forming belts of poverty [in Mexico].”[Peña quiere 'patrulla fronteriza' mexicana, by Miriam Castillo, Milenio, October 9th, 2012]
In other words, if they cross Mexico and get to the United States, we don’t care, as long as they don’t stay in Mexico. And Mexico admits these illegals bring poverty. Indeed, Mexican authorities are quite cynical about this. A new report indicates the Mexican government is granting Haitians 20-day transit documents to reach the U.S. border, resulting in a 1,800% in illegal Haitians crossing the border in 2016. As Duncan Hunter’s chief of staff Joe Kasper said, “Mexico doesn’t want them, but it’s entirely content with putting migrants—in this case Haitians—right on America’s doorstep." [DHS Documents Reveal How Mexico Is Helping Haitians Reach the U.S. Illegally, Numbers USA, October 11, 2016]. Remember this the next time somebody claims Mexico is our partner in securing the border.
But a President Trump who, like the Israelis, shuts down illegal immigration would force Mexico to build a border barrier if they don’t want to be flooded by Central Americans. This is no easy task, given the geographical situation. Mexico’s border with Guatemala alone is 541 miles long—about a quarter the length of the U.S.-Mexican border. It’s sparsely populated and crosses forested regions, rivers, lakes, farmland, pasture, valleys and mountains, some of which are in the 13,000 feet above sea level range.
But where there’s a will there’s a way. Some form of effective fencing could be done depending on the particular ecosystem, by utilizing natural barriers (such as mountains, rivers and valleys) as part of an overall border security plan.
And it’s already being suggested in the Mexican press. A bold editorial in Mañana, a newspaper from the Mexican border city of Reynosa, openly calls for a border wall with Central America Sí al muro fronterizo...Pero en el sur de México [“Yes to the Border Wall...But in the South of Mexico,” July 24, 2016]. It argues Mexico’s borders with Guatemala and Belize “only give us problems because these crossings are utilized for a new invasion, that of Central Americans who utilize our country to cross to the United States”. That’s very provocative language, using the term invasion (invasión in Spanish).
The editorial also claims Central Americans are deported from the U.S. back to Mexico, even if they’re Central Americans and not Mexicans. The greatest number are supposedly deported to Reynosa, where they wait to try to enter America again. But while they wait, “Many of these migrants, not finding an honest way of earning a living, dedicate themselves to crime, resorting to assault, kidnapping and extortion, and in the worst of cases joining organized crime gangs.”
This Mexican editorial says deported Central American illegals commit crimes in Mexico! What intolerance! It might as well have been written by Trump!
Indeed, the editorial blames Central American illegals for much of the lawlessness of the border region: “Peace and tranquility have ended on the Mexican border and much of that has been due to the Central Americans who are deported from the U.S., backed up with false documents, who stay in Mexican territory.”
The editorial proposes a solution. “Trump’s idea [of a wall] is good [!], but more necessary than constructing a wall on the northern border of Mexico is to make one on the south/southeast border to stop the passage of Central Americans to both countries.” Furthermore, the Mexican government should also demand “migratory documents for the foreigners who enter our country.”
Though this editorial advocates a wall on Mexico’s southern border, not the American southern border, there’s no reason we can’t do both. And it’s unlikely the first will happen unless preceded by the second.
The editors of this paper have guts and are true Mexican patriots. But in order to help Mexican patriots, we need an American patriot in charge of our own country.
American citizen Allan Wall (email him) moved back to the U.S.A. in 2008 after many years residing in Mexico. Allan's wife is Mexican, and their two sons are bilingual. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here ; his News With Views columns are archived here; and his website is here.