Apparently, Mexicans aren’t too jazzed about Central Americans trekking into their country, either.
The Washington Post and Mexican paper Reforma conducted a survey, released on Wednesday, that mostly had to do with other political questions facing Mexico at present.
However, there was one result that stood out: When respondents were asked, “What should Mexico do with the migrants from Central America that cross through the country trying to reach the United States? Give them residency in Mexico, give them temporary residency while the United States decides if it will accept them or not, or deport them to their countries of origin?”
Fifty-five percent of respondents said that they would deport them to their countries of origin, 33 percent replied they would give them temporary residency while the United States made its decision and 7 percent said that they would give them residency in Mexico.
That last part should be worrying to the Mexican government, considering the Trump administration’s new asylum guidelines that require migrants to request asylum in the countries they pass through — a “safe third country” — before applying in the United States.
The 1,200-person survey was conducted between July 9-14, before the revised asylum policy was announced earlier this week.
According to The Post, the survey’s “findings defy the perception that Mexico — a country that has sent millions of its own migrants to the United States, sending billions of dollars in remittances — is sympathetic to the surge of Central Americans.
“Instead, the data suggests Mexicans have turned against the migrants transiting through their own country, expressing antipathy that would be familiar to many supporters of President Trump north of the border.”
And indeed, The Post knew exactly who was responsible for opinions such as this in a country that’s had a rocky relationship with Donald Trump: Donald Trump.
“While migration from Central America through Mexico has existed for years, the overall increase in migrants as well as their more visible modes of transit turned the phenomenon into a public lightning rod,” they reported.
“The Trump administration’s immigration policy, which forces many asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their hearings, increased the pool of migrants in northern Mexico and exacerbated the frustration felt by many Mexicans.”
There were other questions where the opinions of Mexicans were similarly retrograde.
“With which of these phrases do you agree the most? The migrants strengthen our country with their work and skills or the migrants are a burden on our country because they take jobs and receive benefits that should belong to Mexicans,” one read.
On that one, 64 percent said that migrants were a burden, while only 20 percent said that they strengthened the country with their work and skills.
When asked if migrants who arrived in Mexico committed more crimes than Mexicans, 39 percent said more crimes, 21 percent said fewer crimes and 31 percent said the same.
Other questions seemed to have bowled over writers at The Post.
“When Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador agreed to step up Mexico’s immigration enforcement to avert U.S. tariffs, many analysts expected his base to be disillusioned. López Obrador had long advocated for migrants’ rights and the freedom of movement for asylum seekers,” the article read.
“But 51 percent of Mexicans support using the country’s newly formed national guard to combat migration of undocumented immigrants in Mexico, a key provision of the agreement. Just under half of Mexicans have heard about the June agreement, but among those who have, 59 percent favor it, while 34 percent are opposed.”
There’s a wonderful tenor to this article, which I really encourage you to read. It’s as if The Washington Post’s take on how Mexicans feel about Central American immigration and asylum seekers was determined by their preconceptions about how Mexicans should feel and, now that they’ve discovered how they actually feel, it’s as if our neighbors to the south have let them down.
Of course, it’s all Trump’s fault, somehow.
I think there’s a more reasonable explanation, starting with the fact that Mexicans don’t like their border laws being flouted any more than Americans do. Then you have the fact that this migration wave has put money into the pockets of the cartels through trafficking; it’s not as if drug cartels are exactly beloved by the average Mexican citizen, who would probably prefer his or her country to be less violent.
Yes, there are the “Remain in Mexico” protocols, which complicate life for those at the border. However, most of Mexico doesn’t live in the affected areas, meaning its residents angrier about the drain on resources and the perception of increased crime in a different sense.
However, I’m struck by what must have been the great revelation to The Washington Post: Opposition to illegal immigration isn’t necessarily racist. It’s not about being prejudiced against people who “don’t look like you.”
After all, that doesn’t apply to Mexicans — and they feel much the same way opponents of illegal immigration here feel. They think deportation is necessary too. No wonder The Post thought it had to lay it at the feet of Trump.
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