The U.S. government cut aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras on Saturday after President Donald Trump blasted the Central American countries for sending migrants to the United States.
Amid a surge in migrant detentions at the southwest U.S. border, Trump on Friday said he would also close the 2,000-mile (3,200-km) frontier, or sections of it, during the coming week if Mexico did not halt the flow of people. His threat to shut the U.S. border if Mexico does not halt all illegal immigration within its borders has exposed the limitations of the new Mexican government’s strategy of trying to appease the U.S. president as he gears up for re-election.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol projections are for over 90,000 apprehensions to be logged during March, according to data provided to the Mexican government. That is up more than 140 percent from March 2018, and a seven-fold jump from 2017.
Trump’s words were a slap in the face to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), who has refused to answer back to provocative comments from Trump. Instead, the Mexican leader has worked to cement his powerbase by combating poverty with welfare handouts and lambasting his predecessors as corrupt.
Former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castaneda saus Mexico faces “incredibly damaging” consequences if Trump does order “go-slows” at the border, which would pitch Lopez Obrador into uncomfortable new territory.