Friday, 25 May, 2018

Trump warns of consequences for 'big caravan' of immigrants

The group of Central American immigrants made their way into Mexico last week Migrant caravan stops in field in southern Mexico
Deanna Wagner | 04 April, 2018, 01:36

The country also staffs immigration checkpoints in southern states such as Chiapas, Tabasco and Oaxaca, which are so aggressive that indigenous people living in the region complain they have to prove to Mexican immigration officers that they are in fact citizens. But the help may not be entirely altruistic. "They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA", he concluded.

BuzzFeed has reported that a "caravan" of Central American immigrants led by Pueblos Sin Fronteras, or People Without Borders, has been making its way north in a march toward the USA border to seek asylum. "They have very strong border laws - ours are pathetic".

"The authorities want us to leave their cities", Rodrigo Abeja, an organizer from the group, told the news agency.

The move comes after Trump Sunday threatened to cut off immigration programs like DACA, as he targeted the refugee caravan with almost 1,350 migrants who were en route to Mexico and the United States on an arduous journey from the city of Tapachula in the state of Chiapas on the Mexico-Guatemala border, to demand an end to the political corruption in their cities, and dignity and the right to asylum from Mexico and the United States. "They've been helping us, in part to speed the massive group out of their jurisdictions".

So far the Mexican federal government has provided little guidance on how to handle the migrants but Abeja worries that local reactions will change.

The current trip has also put pressure on Mexican authorities ahead of the July 1 presidential election there. "Mexico is making a fortune on NAFTA", he wrote, adding: "With all of the money they make from the United States, hopefully they will stop people from coming through their country and into ours, at least until Congress changes our immigration laws!"

Enrique Peña Nieto was responding to reporters in Mexico City who asked, "What about Trump?"

Former President Vicente Fox called for Mexican officials to take a stand against Trump's attacks. "NEED WALL!" Trump wrote in one. Organizers say the primary goal of the caravan's participants is to "flee Central America" and seek asylum either within Mexico or the United States.

Migrants in the caravan cite a variety of reasons for joining it.

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"The U.S. support for the Honduran military coup of 2009 and the electoral coup of November 2017 have intensified military and political repression, insecurity, and physical and economic violence".

Meantime the President of Mexico said Monday that the government will continue to work with the U.S. in a, "proactive and cordial spirit during negotiations and mutual respect".

"They can not cross the border", he said. "We're suffering a progressive militarization and lack of institutions, and ... they're criminalizing those who protested".

Trump's tying of the trade agreement to immigration and DACA throws a wrench in already fraught negotiations. She chose to head north after a fellow congressman from her party put out word on Facebook that a caravan of migrants was gathering in southern Mexico, leaving home with a small bag with necessities and photos of her children. The number of participants this time was "unprecedented", Pueblo Sin Fronteras said in a statement Monday. During the journey members of the organization instruct the migrants about their rights.

The caravan was organized by "Puebla Sin Fronteras" or "People Without Borders", a refugee and migrant rights organization.

Trump claimed on Sunday that "a lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of Daca, and we're going to have to really see".

Typically, Central Americans have not fared well with US asylum claims, particularly those from Honduras. No replacement has been instituted but court orders have maintained protections for recipients.

"It is not this government's responsibility to make immigration decisions for the United States or any other country, so it will be up to the appropriate authorities of the United States to decide whether to authorize the entry of the caravan participants to USA territory", the statement said. "Not to be flippant", Padilla said, "but it's similar numbers to what we are seeing every day pretty much".