As I reported in a previous article, a survey by the Washington Post and Reforma (a Mexico City paper) revealed that a majority of Mexicans polled don’t want Central Americans to overrun their country.
We wouldn't find that surprising, but the Washington Post seemed to:
More than 6 in 10 Mexicans say migrants are a burden on their country because they take jobs and benefits that should belong to Mexicans. A 55 percent majority supports deporting migrants who travel through Mexico to reach the United States.
Those findings defy the perception that Mexico—a country that has sent millions of its own migrants to the United States, sending billions of dollars in remittances—is sympathetic to the surge of Central Americans. Instead, the data suggests Mexicans have turned against the migrants transiting through their own country, expressing antipathy that would be familiar to many supporters of President Trump north of the border.
[Unauthorized immigrants face public backlash in Mexico, survey finds, by Kevin Sieff and Scott Clement, July 17, 2019]
The poll was a “face-to-face survey” of 1,200 adult Mexicans, sponsored by the Washington Post and Mexico’s Reforma and conducted from July 9 to 14.
The detailed PDF can be consulted here .
What can we learn from the poll? Several things.
Donald Trump Is Not Popular
The poll asks
¿Qué opinión tiene del Presidente de Estados Unidos Donald Trump? [“What opinion do you have of Donald Trump, President of the United States?”]
Only 1% said muy buena [“very good”], 5% said buena [“good”] and 13% said regular [“average”].
On the other hand, 44% had a mala [“bad”] opinion of Trump and 34% had a muy mala [“very bad”] opinion of our President.
So 78% of the respondents had a negative view of Trump.
How Does Trump Treat Mexico?
An even higher percentage of (81%) said that Trump treats Mexico with disrespect.
What About Mexico's President?
Mexico's President AMLO (Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador) still enjoys a high approval rating in Mexico. The WaPO Reform poll asked
En general, ¿usted aprueba o desaprueba la forma como Andrés Manuel López Obrador está haciendo su trabajo como Presidente de la República?
["In general, do you approve or disapprove of the way in which Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is doing his job as President of the Republic?"]
A majority of 70% approved (28% totally and 42% partly) while 29% disapproved (13% totally and 16% partly).
Does Mexico's President Defend Mexico?
In regards to their own president, the respondents were asked
¿Usted diría que López Obrador ha defendido los intereses de México frente a Donald Trump o que no los ha defendido? [“Would you say that Lopez Obrador has or has not defended the interests of Mexico against Donald Trump?”]
To that question, 54% said yes and 34% said no.
Also, 47% approve of the way AMLO handles Mexico's relationship with the U.S while 41% disapprove.
Is It Easier Or Harder To Cross The Border Now?
¿Comparado con hace 5 años, hoy en día es más fácil o más difícil emigrar a Estados Unidos?
[“Compared to 5 years ago, today is it easier or more difficult to emigrate to the United States?”]
To that question 78% responded that it is now more difficult. Of course, Mexicans are not entitled to the various exemptions that Central Americans and Cubans have. Anyway, now the majority of illegal entries are made by Central Americans and not Mexicans.
The U.S. Mexico Deal
What about the U.S.-Mexico Deal, which resulted from the Trump Tariff Threat?
First the respondents were asked if they even knew about it:
¿Usted está enterado que México y Estados Unidos firmaron un acuerdo el mes pasado para frenar la migración de centroamericanos indocumentados a México y evitar que lleguen a Estados Unidos?
[“Are you aware that Mexico and the United States signed an agreement last month to stop the migration of Central American indocumentados to Mexico and avoid that they arrive to the United States?”]
Amazingly, only 49% of the respondents said they had heard of it, with 47% saying they hadn’t! I guess a lot of them just didn’t keep up with the news.
Concerning the Agreement, the respondents were asked
¿Cree usted que este acuerdo fue negociado entre ambos países o que Estados Unidos le impuso este acuerdo a México? [“Do you think that this Agreement was negotiated between both countries or did the United States impose the Agreement on Mexico?”]
A majority (55%) thought it was imposed by the United States, with 28% saying it was negotiated.
OK, so these were questions about Trump and U.S.-Mexican relations. But what do the respondents really think about immigration in Mexico?
Are Migrants A Burden On Mexico?
As the Washington Post reports
Mexicans’ views of immigrants appear to have soured sharply in the past year. A 2018 survey by the Pew Research Center found 57 percent said immigrants mainly strengthen Mexico, while 37 percent weaken it. The Post-Reforma poll asked a similar question and found opinion reversed: 64 percent of Mexicans say migrants are mainly a burden on the country, 20 percent see them as strengthening it.
Would such a change owe anything to all this caravan stuff that’s been going on?
Crime And Immigration
¿Usted considera que los migrantes que llegan a México cometen más delitos que los mexicanos o menos delitos que los mexicanos? [“Do you consider that the migrants who arrive to Mexico commit more crimes than Mexicans or fewer crimes than Mexicans?”]
To that question, 39% said more, 21% said fewer and 31% said the same.
Didn't Trump get in trouble for discussing immigrant crime?
The Mexican National Guard
¿Está a favor o en contra de que la Guardia Nacional se utilice para combatir la migración de centroamericanos indocumentados en México? [“Are you in favor or opposed to using the National Guard to combat the migration of central American indocumentados in Mexico?”].
A slim majority of 51% said they were in favor, with 36% against and 12% with no opinion.
What To Do With Central American Illegals?
¿Qué debería hacer México con los migrantes centroamericanos que cruzan por nuestro país tratando de llegar a Estados Unidos? Ofrecerles residencia en México, darles asilo temporal mientras Estados Unidos decide si los acepta o no, o deportarlos a sus países de origen?
[“What should Mexico do with the Central American migrants who cross our country trying to reach the United States? Offer them residence in Mexico, give them temporary asylum while the United States decides if they will accept them or not, or deport them to their countries of origin?"]
So a majority wants to deport them, 33% only want temporary asylum, with only 7% favoring permanent residence.
Whatever Mexicans think of Trump or U.S.–Mexican relations, they do not want to be overrun by non-Mexican illegal aliens.
So besides and independent of U.S. pressure, there is now pressure from the Mexican voter on the Mexican government to reduce the passage of Central Americans and others.
That’s good for us, and good for Mexico.