Since President Trump took office he’s promised that Mexico would pay for a border wall, a demand the country has refused. For now, in the Trump administration’s strategy to stop illegal immigration, the United States instead plans to pay Mexico. The administration is moving through with plans to pay $20 million to Mexico to deport migrants and stop them from reaching the U.S. This comes after Democrats blocked the measure in Congress and the Mexican government dismissed the proposal.
Congress was told late on Oct. 1 that the funds had already been transferred over the weekend.
The Trump administration is moving ahead with a plan to pay Mexico $20 million to deport migrants and prevent them from reaching the U.S. – even after the plan had been dismissed by the Mexican government. https://t.co/Cw6N3SzM59 via @ABC
— NPR's Latino USA (@LatinoUSA) October 5, 2018
The administration intends to take $20 million in foreign assistance funds and use it to help Mexico pay plane and bus fares to deport as many as 17,000 people who are in that country illegally. The administration hopes the money will help increase deportations of Central Americans, many of whom go through Mexico to get to the U.S. Any unauthorized immigrant in Mexico who is a known or suspected terrorist will also be deported under the program.
Thousands of Central Americans travel through Mexico to come to the U.S. and either cross the border illegally or apply for asylum from their home countries. Fifty-seven thousand Central Americans were deported from Mexico in the first half of 2018, according to the Associated Press.
The Mexican government has yet to agree to terms with the U.S. on the measure.
— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) September 13, 2018
Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto rejected the proposal in September. His successor Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a populist, hasn’t made a formal announcement about his position on the program. Many believe that López Obrador is not likely to accept the proposal, despite having a friendly relationship with Trump.
The State Department notified Congress first in September that the funds were going to be transferred to the Department of Homeland Security.
President Trump and Lopez Obrador spoke over the phone recently about the development in Central America.
Just spoke to President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico. Great call, we will work well together!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 3, 2018
The three North American countries are meeting in Washington with delegations from Central American countries about recent developments, according to ABC News.
The program aims to help relieve immigration flows through Mexico to the U.S.
US proposal to pay Mexico $20 M to deport unauthorized immigrants there likely to cause political turmoil in Mexico as officials consider bilateral collaboration https://t.co/n8TL2UzQbg
— Ariel Ruiz (@ruizags) September 14, 2018
The Trump administration has worked tirelessly to curb immigration, legal and illegal. They have changed rules as to who qualifies for asylum and implemented a “zero tolerance” policy designed to separate families as a deterrent.
Immigrant advocacy groups have called the deportation aid for Mexico a misguided use of money. Instead, advocates are calling on officials to handle the issues that are forcing people to flee their homes and countries for a better, safer life.
“We shouldn’t be paying another country to do our dirty work; we should actually be fixing our immigration system and helping these countries get back on solid footing,” said Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum told the NY Times. “It smacks of desperation.