A migrant caravan of about 7,000 mostly Honduran migrants is making its way through Mexico to the United States, once again straining relations between the United States, Mexico, and the Northern Triangle. Earlier this month Trump hinted that the new USMCA deal reached between the U.S., Mexico and Canada could be in jeopardy if Mexico didn’t take steps to stop the incoming caravan. But while detaining or deporting members of the caravan would please President Trump, it would defy Mexico’s own immigration laws and reinforce the impression that the government is following the U.S.’s orders.
The Mexican government has encouraged Central American migrants to apply for legal status in the country, but it has been unclear what legal status would grant migrants: asylum in Mexico, a temporary visa that would allow them to cross the country, or something else. So far, Mexican police haven’t stopped migrants from crossing into the country. As the Washington Post reports, riot police have posed for pictures in their gear, as if ready to combat the migrants, before leaving the scene. Similarly, news stations captured Mexican police firing tear gas at migrants on a bridge connecting Mexico and Guatemala, but right next to the bridge police stood by and watched as thousands of migrants crossed the border by raft.
The situation will only deteriorate further if President Donald Trump follows through on his threats and cuts off aid to Mexico as he has threatened to do in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. As Global Americans’ William Naylor points out, cutting aid will only create the conditions for more migrants. “U.S. aid to the Northern Triangle is aimed at reducing the thing Trump seems to loathe most: out-migration to Mexico and the United States because of violence, corruption, and hunger at home.”