- Mexican senators have asked their government to consider ending security and immigration cooperation with the US.
- The call comes in response to Trump’s now-rescinded policy of separating immigrant families at the border.
- It is not the first time Mexican officials have made such a proposal.
Mexican legislators this week proposed ending cooperation with the US on immigration, counterterrorism, and fighting organised crime “as long as President Donald Trump does not act with the respect that migrants deserve.”
The proposal was made on Wednesday by the Mexican Congress’ Permanent Commission, which meets while Congress is in recess, and asks the executive branch to “consider the possibility of withdrawing from any bilateral cooperation scheme” with the US on those issues.
Mexican legislators called on their US counterparts to “end the inhumane and criminal action of separating migrant families, taking into account the best interests of the children and giving priority to the respect of human rights.”
It also called on the international community and human-rights defence groups to condemn the detention and separation of children and to end the policy and asked Mexican representatives to international bodies to use diplomatic means to halt the policy. (Trump rescinded the policy on Wednesday in the face of domestic backlash.)
While announcing the proposal, Ernesto Cordero Arroyo, a senator for the conservative National Action Party, said the US “is a partner, allied in diverse causes and a friend that doesn’t deserve a government like that of Donald Trump,” adding that Mexico would not support a country that “systematically violates human rights and that doesn’t have respect for the life and dignity of people.”
Cordero said Trump “incentivizes and defends a discourse of hate inside and outside of his country,” encouraging racists groups and generating stereotypes of minorities, and that the US president has started a “trade war” through tariffs and rejected international cooperation, citing the US’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.
Other Mexican officials have criticised Trump’s immigration policy. Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, who has developed a close relationship with Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, condemned the separation policy as “cruel and inhumane” on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Videgaray welcomed Trump’s decision to end the policy as “good news” but said the Mexican government would continue to provide consular protection to children in vulnerable situations.
Victor Manuel Giorgana – the president of the foreign-relations committee in Mexico’s lower house and a member of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party – said Trump had not done enough to protect migrant children and that Trump only backed down in order further his political agenda, namely securing funding for a border wall.
“The situation didn’t change in any way, except that [the children] are not separated,” he told newspaper Milenio, adding that those children would still be held in “inhumane” conditions.
The senate commission’s proposal is not the first of its kind.
In a nonbinding resolution approved earlier this year, Mexican senators condemned Trump’s decision to deploy troops to the US-Mexico border, where several thousand are still stationed in limited roles.
In that resolution, senators urged Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to suspend bilateral cooperation with the US “on matters of migration and the fight against transnational organised crime as long as President Donald Trump does not conduct himself with the civility and the respect that the people of Mexico deserve.”
US officials have also warned of the deleterious effects Trump’s harsh comments and hardline policies would have on relations with countries in the region – specifically on security cooperation.
“In jeopardizing counternarcotics collaboration, President Trump risks cutting off his nose to spite his face,” Rebecca Bill Chavez, former deputy assistant secretary of defence for Western Hemisphere affairs, saidin February.
“A deterioration in our defence cooperation, it threatens stability and security of our hemisphere in areas from illicit trafficking to migration and natural-disaster-related humanitarian crises to destabilizing crime and violence,” she added.
Mexican officials have expressed disdain for Trump and his policies, and the US president has been the target of protests around Mexico – though Trump has little influence on Mexican domestic politics, and many there are more critical of their own government for its failings.
The Mexican government has also worked to counter Trump through economic policy. Legislators have called on the government there to cut purchases of US corn, a $US2.5 billion industry. More recently, in response to US tariffs on steel and aluminium, the Mexican government levied $US3 billion in tariffs on US pork, steel, cheese, and other goods.
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