On Thursday, September 13, the Mexican government addressed headlines regarding a U.S. proposal to allocate resources to Mexico for the repatriation of third-country nationals.
Reportedly, the White House sent Congress a notice that it intends to take $20 million in foreign assistance funds and use that money to help Mexico deport foreign nationals, namely Central Americans, who entered Mexico illegally. The unallocated funds are supposedly going to be moved from the U.S. State Department to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and then sent to Mexico. A spokesperson for DHS told the New York Times the program was intended to relieve immigration flows at the United States' southern border. As reported by CNN, under the program, Mexican authorities would be responsible for interdiction, detention, asylum adjudication and other immigration proceeding in accordance with Mexican and international law. The United States would "only fund commercial airline tickets or charter flights and/or ground transportation."
Since 2008, the U.S. government has supported Mexico to secure its southern borders with Guatemala and Belize under the Merida Initiative.
Mexico's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of the Interior made the following clarifications concerning the aforementioned proposal,
- The Mexican government continues to evaluate said proposal in accordance with the applicable legal framework and the priorities of its migration policy.
- The Mexican government has not accepted this proposal verbally or in writing, nor has it signed any document in this regard.
The Mexican government added that it will continue to work with the U.S. government on migration issues, seeking to promote orderly, legal, and secure migration with full respect for human rights and the international legal framework.
The news of the plan came after Mexico's foreign minister met with Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.
The current Mexican administration is keeping an open mind about the proposal, which would alleviate economic strains relating to immigration enforcement. However, the incoming administration (scheduled to take power in December) appears to be less receptive to the program. Olga Sanchez Cordero, who is slated to be the secretary of the interior under Mexico's President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, maintained that Mexico "would not be" in any way "a police officer" of the United States.