Sometimes the Bully Wins

Public Domain via USCBP Flickr PhotostreamU.S. Border Patrol agents arrest illegal aliens attempting to enter the United States after crossing the Rio Grande River in McAllen, Texas on November 15, 2018. Photo by Ozzy Trevino

Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.

Public Domain via USCBP Flickr PhotostreamU.S. Border Patrol agents arrest illegal aliens attempting to enter the United States after crossing the Rio Grande River in McAllen, Texas on November 15, 2018. Photo by Ozzy Trevino

The figures are in!  In June, there were 60% fewer apprehensions at the US-Mexico border than in May.  This is good news in that the flow of illegal immigrants across our southern border has decreased.

What has always struck this writer is the ignorance played by Mexico in the situation.  While a firm believer that the United States should strengthen our southern border be it with a wall, stronger interdiction efforts, or an increase in manpower up to and including military personnel, the big question left out of the equation was: What was Mexico doing to strengthen their northern border?

The answer previously was nothing.  Corrupt Mexican officials were in the pocket of drug cartels and illegal immigrant coyotes.  If not in the pocket, they were killed, turned a blind eye, or simply were overwhelmed and did not give a crap.  Most Mexican immigrants came to the United States for economic opportunity but with an improved Mexican economy, those dynamics have changed.   Instead, most of the problems at the southern border are immigrants from Central America- namely, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras.

So what changed?  After President Trump threatened to slap tariffs on 100% of Mexican goods imported into the country, Mexico changed its tune.  Yes… we heard that the price of tequila and guacamole would go through the roof, but the powers-that-be in Mexico City heard something else.

As a result, Mexico has beefed up security at THEIR southern border with Guatemala.  All those refugees, immigrants, dreamers and criminals are finding it much harder to cross into Mexico.  As any reader of a map will tell you, to get from the US from these Central American countries, you have to first pass through Mexico.

Even a spokesman for a pro-migrant group, Allianza Americas, admits Trump’s bullying policy has worked.  Says Oscar Chacon: “I think that they are getting exactly what they said they would get, by forcing the hand of Mexico.  But the question is, is it sustainable?”  As long as Trump is President, this writer says, “YES!”

The policy has also forced Mexico to house, feed, and care for thousands of “asylum” seekers until their cases are decided in the United States.  While the issue of asylum is a tricky one given that poem on a statue in New York Harbor, it must also be realized that a poem is not immigration policy (with all apologies to Jim Acosta).   While this writer does not think it should take 6-8 months to make these decisions, this writer also realizes that not all, perhaps the majority, of the asylum cases are not legitimate.  Thus, better to err on the side of caution.  If the answer is a change to the asylum laws or more manpower or just plain brute strength and a solid “NO,” this writer knows not.

But one thing is certain.  After following through with tariffs on China, the European Union, and Canada, Mexico realizes they are dealing with a President who will not back down.  All the cajoling and niceties expressed between Bush and Obama with Mexican leaders did little to stem the flow of illegal immigrants across the southern border whether they were from Mexico itself or points further south.

This week, Mexican and American officials will meet to discuss Mexico’s efforts to decrease Central American migration through their country with the United States as the final destination.  They are expected to ask for an expedited asylum process.  There are no objections to that request.  Unfortunately, you have many in Congress (ahem…Democrats) who think “expedited” means everybody.  They are also expected to ask the US to take measures to curb the flow of guns into Mexico.  As for that request, thankfully Eric Holder is not the Attorney General.  Finally, they are expected to ask the US to increase aid to Central America.

As for the final request, this writer has no problem with the concept in the abstract.  However, for too many years we have seen too many American tax dollars squandered around the world.  Provided there are enough safeguards that ensure that Nicaraguans will stay in Nicaragua, that Hondurans will stay in Honduras, that Mexicans will stay in Mexico and Guatemalans will stay in Guatemala, there should be no objections.

In the interim, if the statistics are to be believed and if they are an indication of a trend, then President Trump, despite his shortcomings elsewhere, should continue to play the economic bully as concerns immigration.

After all, what does the United States stand to lose?  Fewer Californians eating guacamole and fewer people drunk on tequila may not be a bad thing after all.