New migrant caravan? No problem. AMLO is doing Trump's dirty work to keep them out
Opinion: Mexico has the right to enforce its immigration laws. But López Obrador has turned out to be just like Trump. Or worse – a hypocrite and a coward.
Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador may have every reason to crack down on Central American migrants, but doing so has only turned him into Donald Trump’s puppet.
This week, a new migrant caravan once again proved López Obrador’s cowardice against President Trump, who is bullying López Obrador into doing his dirty work. Hundreds of Central American migrants, mostly from Honduras, were met at a Mexico-Guatemala border crossing with pepper spray, according to various reports.
On Monday, hundreds of them abandoned a bridge where they had been stopped and took to the river to cross over onto Mexican soil. It was unclear exactly how many defied Mexico's military – some officers were dressed in riot gear – or how many of the migrants were returned to Guatemala following the chaotic crossing.
Where is AMLO's spine against Trump?
This new caravan – the first of 2020 – exposed a Mexican president unwilling to show some spine against Trump, who has threatened to slap Mexico with tariffs if López Obrador doesn't stop the flow of migrants. And that’s just shameful for Mexico and the dignity of its people.
Mexico has the right, just like any other sovereign nation, to enforce its immigration laws. And some Mexicans want him to do it. But López Obrador, or AMLO as he’s commonly known, has turned out to be just like Trump.
López Obrador has not only agreed to crack down on Central Americans flooding into Mexico to seek refuge in the United States but also to keep them in Mexico while their claims for asylum are being processed in the U.S.
That's pure hypocrisy from a president whose people have for years migrated to the United States for largely the same reasons – to escape poverty and drug-related violence. Like AMLO, former presidents of Mexico have endured U.S. pressure to curb illegal immigration.
But this president in particular, who rose to power promising to improve working conditions and social justice, has turned out to be nothing but Trump’s puppet. And now he has no moral authority left to challenge the Trump administration’s anti-Mexican crusade.
What should happen - but won't
Trump and his supporters should be happy with López Obrador. Why wouldn't they? They can keep humiliating their neighbor to the south with a border wall and can keep calling Mexicans "criminals" and "rapists" because they know López Obrador will obey regardless of his expressed indignation.
This weekend, Mexican officials said they had some 4,000 jobs available for those in the caravan. But at the same time, they stepped up enforcement, including using pepper spray to try to keep them out. Clearly, the migrants don’t want to stay in Mexico because that country isn’t any better than the violent and impoverished countries they’re fleeing in the first place.
What should López Obrador do? He should let the Central Americans reach the U.S. border and let the asylum process play out. The Trump administration in turn should step up efforts to expedite asylum applications and quickly determine the validity of each claim.
That won't happen, of course. Not under these two presidents, who are turning out to be made for each other.
What’s next? Will Mexico relent and agree to pay for Trump’s border wall? Don’t dismiss the idea, not when the Mexican president has so far carried out Trump’s every whim.