Again showing the New York Times is at its most liberal on the issue of immigration, Times reporters Azam Ahmed and Paulina Villegas reported from Mexico City after a Supreme Court ruling allowed the Trump administration to limit asylum applications: “For Most Asylum Seekers, New Rule Ends ‘All Hope.’” The text box stacked the deck further: “Migrants trying to flee the scourge of poverty, political violence, gangs and repression.” All of them?
Thousands of people fleeing persecution, most from Central America, line up at the United States’ southern border every day hoping for asylum. They wait for months, their names slowly crawling up a hand-drawn list until they are allowed to present their case to American immigration authorities.
After the United States Supreme Court issued an order this week, almost none of them will be eligible for asylum.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the Trump administration to enforce new rules that bar asylum applications from anyone who has not already been denied asylum in one of the countries they traveled through on their way to the United States.
The rule is among the most stringent measures taken by this administration in its battle to halt migration, upending decades of asylum and humanitarian norms. It is likely to affect hundreds of thousands of migrants traveling through Mexico to reach the United States: Eritreans and Cameroonians fleeing political violence. Nicaraguans and Venezuelans fleeing repression.
And the largest group of all: Hondurans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans escaping the twin scourges of poverty and gangs.
It's a shame. It also sounds like a problem for the leaders and people of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, respectively, not the United States.
Ahmed portrayed the ruling in the most stark liberal terms he could conjure.
The new rule, which has been allowed to take effect pending legal challenges, is consistent with the Trump administration’s posture of hostility and rejection for those seeking protection in the United States.
(Does he mean the same racist United States the Times sees under Trump?)
He put all the responsibility on the big bad United States and none on Mexico or Central American countries that are a source of migrants.
And it has put tremendous pressure on Mexico to help meet its goal, threatening months ago to escalate tariffs on all Mexican goods if the nation did not buffer the surge of migrants heading to the United States from Central America and elsewhere.
Mexico responded. This week, when Mexican and American officials met in Washington to discuss progress on the issue, the Mexican delegation took great pains to show how its crackdown along its border with Guatemala and throughout the country has reduced migration flows to the United States by more than 50 percent in the last three months.
Like past efforts by the Trump administration to curb migration, Wednesday’s order could prove a burden for Mexico.
Ahmed blamed the United States for revealing Mexico’s failures.
Mexico is already playing host to tens of thousands of migrants awaiting their asylum hearings in the United States. Its migrant detention facilities can be overcrowded, unsafe and unsanitary.
Asylum applications there have soared in the last year, reaching about 50,000 through August, compared to fewer than 30,000 applications in the same period a year ago. This has placed a strain on Mexican society and on a system ill-equipped to handle such demand.
“We see detention centers crammed with migrants and children, riots, social problems arising, human rights abuses, and rising xenophobia among Mexicans,” said Jorge Chabat, a professor of international relations the University of Guadalajara. “The Mexican government has then little to no other choice but to design long-term migration policies to deal with the large number of migrants coming and staying now in Mexico.”
“There is not much else we can do,” he added, ruefully, “besides maybe lighting a candle for the Virgin of Guadalupe and praying for Trump not to be re-elected.”
After Trump’s win in 2016, Ahmed similarly worried about how Mexico felt: “Clouds have descended over Mexico, miring it in a state of anguish and paralysis after the election of Mr. Trump to the highest office in the world. They are clouds of uncertainty and fear, of self-doubt and insecurity. There were even actual storm clouds hanging over the capital in recent days, a literal echo of the nation’s state of mind.”