In mid-September, several rumors surfaced that the government of Enrique Peña Nieto would be considering signing a commitment with the United States under which Mexico would accept a deportation quota of undocumented non-Mexican immigrants, and a number of asylum seekers seeking refuge in U.S. This would be under the statutes of the bilateral cooperation of the Mérida Initiative signed with the government of President Felipe Calderón to combat drug trafficking and organized crime on a bilateral basis; and as part of the Zero Tolerance policy for undocumented immigration of the Donald Trump government. The New York Times detailed that the 20 million dollars allocated for this would cover the costs of the deportation from Mexico to the countries of origin of some 17,000 undocumented immigrants in order to prevent the flow of migrants in the southern border of the United States.
Days later, it was reported that due to pressure from the transition team of the president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the government of Enrique Peña Nieto rejected these 20 million dollars.
Given the rumors, civil organizations in favor of the rights of migrants and refugees, expressed their outright rejection of a plan of this nature and more broadly to bilateral negotiations between the United States and Mexico on a safe Third-Country Agreement in matters of asylum: “these measures represent a threat to the right of each person to seek asylum in the country that he/she considers to be safe, in addition to a renunciation by both governments of their international obligations to offer access to international protection for any person“. They pointed out that “Mexico is far from being a safe country for migrants and refugees, and forcing people to seek protection in Mexico would exceed the country’s asylum system, which is already weak. International and Mexican organizations have documented how migrants and refugees traveling through Mexico are frequent victims of crimes such as kidnapping, extortion, robbery and sexual violence, committed by criminal organizations, but also by Mexican migration agents and police. ” They recommended that “US assistance to Mexico should not be aimed at increasing arrests and deportations, and should not support immigration and security authorities that lack mechanisms to make their agents responsible for the abuses committed against migrants. In addition, the United States should not outsource the application of its immigration laws to Mexico. Instead, the United States should support the efforts of UNHCR and civil organizations in strengthening protection mechanisms in the region. “ They concluded that “both countries must comply with their international and moral obligations towards migrants and refugees, respecting due process, the family unity and the right to seek protection in the country migrants consider safe”.
For more information (in Spanish) :
Gobierno de Peña firmará convenio que convierte a México en filtro migratorio de EU (Proceso, 12 de septiembre de 2018)
Gobierno mexicano considera ofrecimiento de 20 millones de dólares de EU para ser filtro migratorio (El Economista, 13 de septiembre de 2018)
Por presión del equipo de AMLO, gobierno de Peña rechaza 20 mdd de EU para filtro migratorio (Proceso, 13 de septiembre de 2018)
Rechaza gobierno de Peña 20 mdd de EU para filtro migratorio (El Sur, 13 de septiembre de 2018)
Organizaciones rechazan que México sea una herramienta de deportación de EU (Conexión Migrante, 14 de septiembre de 2018)
For more information from SIPAZ: