In a time of political challenges from both the United States and Mexico, migrants are caught in the crossfire. This week, many migrants learned that they will not be accepted into the United States, and instead will be treated to asylum by the Mexican government. This follows a growing trend that the Mexican government has displayed in recent weeks: a furthering of Trump’s agenda.
This latest trend is largely in part to Mexico’s new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Obrador has touted himself as a president of the people, an everyman who sympathizes with the struggle of being a Mexican in the lower class. Obrador has already cut the salaries of government officials, he flies coach instead of first class, and has allowed the public to view more of the opulent inner workings of Mexico. Furthermore, Obrador came into office with the promise that his administration was not going to cooperate with President Trump’s anti-immigration agenda. However, lately Mexico’s decisions have been anything but. Instead of doing what Obrador promised, to defend grants and assist them in their search for a better life, the Mexican government is blocking migrants to border towns and refusing for them to cross international bridges to apply for asylum.
Part of this political backtracking is due to how the Mexican government views political fights with the United States. While the Mexican government can claim it shall not support or cooperate with Trump’s plans it is, in reality, quite difficult to deviate from doing just that. The Mexican government cannot afford a public fight with Trump, nor does Trump have an attitude that would make him backpedal in the face of Mexican disapproval. Furthermore, Obrador currently sits at an 80% approval rating in Mexico. He truly is a man of the people and Mexican citizens have been responding very well to his treatment of domestic issues. Migrants to not fall in line with his domestic-first attitude, so they become put on the backburner and are subject to the collective unseeing eyes of both Mexico and the United States. Mexican citizens also do not passionately fight for the migrants, as Mexico is in such a pivotal and dangerous place politically that their own security is still at risk.
Now, these migrants are being forced to wait out in various towns along the border, cut off from outsiders and with little information on what is to come. Many are being placed in the dangerous border city of Tijuana, where killings number in the thousands per year. Other cities in Mexico claim to be running smoothly, with well documented numbers on the identities and situations of their migrants and a system in place to give them asylum. What can be truly witnessed here is confusion, both for the migrants and for the governments involved. Even when they are placed to somewhere new, whether it be the United States, Tijuana, or in a shelter camp in a random border town, the future is uncertain and unclear for these people.