Barely News: Mexico's and Mexicans' Plans to Jam U.S. Immigration Courts

Searches at the Associated Press, the New York Times and the Washington Post for stories in English on "monarca," the Spanish term for the monarch butterfly, currently come up empty. (There is a Post story in Spanish originating with the Associated Press, but it's about a drop in the number of those butterflies present in Mexico.)

This absence isn't due to a lack of interest in the butterfly. It's because there's a lack of interest in telling the American people about a concerted effort by Mexico, codenamed Monarca, to slow or halt deportations of its citizens here in the U.S. illegally to a crawl by funding efforts to clog the U.S. court system to the point where it "break(s) down."

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The New York Times did publish an op-ed by NYU professor and former Mexican foreign minister Jorge G. Castañeda on January 27 (January 28 print edition). Castañeda previewed the strategy, which has since begun to coalesce:

Mexico’s Forceful Resistance

... Mexico today faces a tough choice, given the asymmetry between both countries: accommodate Mr. Trump and get the least-bad deal possible, or lay out a series of red lines or list of American demands Mexico cannot accept and adopt a policy of forceful resistance. It could then attempt to wait Mr. Trump out, hoping that he will open too many fronts simultaneously, that domestic opposition to his excesses will grow, and that Mexico’s allies in the United States and abroad will eventually rebalance the unequal correlation of forces.

... Mexico should now clearly draw another red line. If the United States wants to build a wall, we will use every tool available to delay it and make it more expensive. But we will also point out that President Trump’s wall better be a very effective one. Because it will have to deter, without any further Mexican cooperation, drugs, migrants, terrorists and “bad hombres” from entering. If Mr. Trump “breaks” the border arrangement that our two countries have enjoyed for nearly a century, he “owns” it (the Pottery Barn rule).

... on deportations, Mexico must also publicize its nonnegotiable bottom line. More money and agents for immigration enforcement, punishing sanctuary cities and attempting to send so-called criminals to Mexico is likewise an unfriendly act.

... Mexico must say clearly that we will encourage all our potential deportees to demand a hearing upon arrest and to refuse voluntary removal; that we will provide legal support, on our dime, for all arrested undocumented Mexicans; and that we will deny entry to anyone whom American authorities cannot prove is a Mexican citizen.

Castañeda appears to consider anyone in the U.S. illegally who does not have "papers" demonstrating their Mexican citizenship, which is a substantial percentage of Mexican illegal immigrants, undeportable without some form of extensive evidence gathering and proof in what would obviously be an atmosphere of non-cooperation.

In a friendly media zone at CNN on January 29 with host Fareed Zakaria, Castañeda reiterated his threat:

Mexico has a lot of negotiating chips in this matter, Fareed, but it also has measures we could take in other areas. For example, the drugs that come through Mexico from South America, or the drugs that are produced here in Mexico all go to the United States. This is not our problem. We have been cooperating with the United States for many years on these issues because they’ve asked us to and because we have a friendly, trustful relationship. If that relationship disappears, the reasons for cooperation also disappear.

Castañeda's home country produces or gives safe passage to the drugs, and it's not Mexico's problem? Tell that to the thousands of families whose loved ones have been killed in Mexico in cartel-related violence.

The Wall Street Journal reported developments relating to Mexico's and Mexicans' implementation Castañeda's strategy on February 11, noting that the Mexican government has begun to fund such an effort, and that Castañeda himself is actively involved in the obstructionist effort.

The Christian Science Monitor put up a story shortly after the Journal's report appeared largely relaying the Journal's work. If there has been any other meaningful U.S. press coverage of Monarca, I haven't found it. The three outlets identified at the beginning of this post have had four days to recognize these troubling and significant developments, and have not.

Here is part of what the Journal reported:

Mexicans Vow to Fight Trump by Jamming U.S. Courts Group says it will urge compatriots targeted for extradition to fight in court; government allocates funds

Influential Mexicans are pushing an aggressive and perhaps risky strategy to fight a likely increase in deportations of their undocumented compatriots in the U.S.: jam U.S. immigration courts in hopes of causing the already overburdened system to break down.

The proposal calls for ad campaigns advising migrants in the U.S. to take their cases to court and fight deportation if detained. “The backlog in the immigration system is tremendous,” said former Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda. The idea is to double or triple the backlog, “until [U.S. President Donald] Trump desists in this stupid idea,” he added.

Mr. Castañeda is part of a group of Mexican officials, legislators, governors and public figures planning to meet with migrant groups Saturday in Phoenix to lay out plans to confront the Trump administration’s deportation policy.

Mexico’s government hasn’t endorsed the strategy or the group’s Phoenix mission. But it recently allocated some $50 million to assist undocumented migrants facing deportation, and President Enrique Peña Nieto has instructed the country’s 50 consulates in the U.S. to defend migrants.

The Mexican government's general instruction to its consulates seems more like a standing order going back well over a decade, but now with more money and resources behind it.

Mexico's cohort of 50 consulates is by far the largest number of foreign consulates in the U.S. That's roughly triple the number of Japan, the country with the next-highest number. Japan's relatively high presence can be explained by its companies' manufacturing presence throughout the U.S. As I wrote in 2006 when I learned of Mexico's extensive consular presence here after stumbling across a reference to a consulate in Indianapolis, the Mexican consulates serve a different purpose: to facilitate life for their citizens who are here, largely if not mostly illegally, and to defend them if they are threatened with deportation (or perhaps with prison).

Fox News's Tucker Carlson devoted time to this topic Monday and Tuesday night.

There's little point in posting video of either episode, though readers who believe they can endure the punishment can see them here (Monday; first segment of full show) and here (Tuesday). That's because on Monday, Carlson spoke to an immigration lawyer who steadfastly changed the subject whenever Carlson asked key questions.

Castañeda, the obstructionist advocate and planner, was Carlson's guest Tuesday night. He brazenly sabotaged the related segment and made it virtually unwatchable by refusing to stop speaking, refusing to stay on topic, and repeatedly refusing to answer Carlson's questions.

Here are several of the questions the immigration lawyer and Castañeda refused to genuinely answer. They bear repeating, especially because most of the rest of the U.S. establishment press won't even ask them, let alone try to answer them:

  • (To the immigration lawyer) (Mexico is) mobilizing U.S. consulates across the United States to help people in the United States who are here illegally remain here. Why is the government of Mexico doing that?
  • (To the immigration lawyer) The foreign minister of Mexico under Vicente Fox (i.e., Castañeda), a Princeton graduate, said that the new strategy among rich people in Mexico is to fund lawsuits that will tie up our judicial system. He said he would like to increase his backlog and bring our system to a halt until the President relents. That is a strategy based on creating more chaos, is it not?
  • (To the immigration lawyer) Here you have the Mexican government on our southern border saying we are going to shut down the judiciary and you have no comment on that?
  • (To Castañeda) As a foreign national you are suggesting destroying our legal system because you do not think the U.S. Government has the right as the President stated to deport people who convicted of felony?
  • (To Castañeda) Have you ever paused a minute to think why are these people leaving my country to go to the country next door? Maybe we should spend some time and build a social safety net. Has not occurred to you?
  • (To Castañeda) Have you thought about improving your own country so people do not want to flee?

To be clear, Mexico's implementation of an especially obstructionist anti-deportation strategy is new, but, as seen above, the U.S.-based infrastructure enabling it to occur on short notice has been in place for at least a decade.

Now that the strategy appears to be coming together, key members of the establishment press appear uninterested at the very least, and perhaps even hostile, to the idea that the majority of the American people might find out about it.

Cross-posted at

Crime Foreign Policy Mexico Government Agencies Immigration Bias by Omission Wire Services/Media Companies Associated Press Cable Television Fox News Channel Tucker Carlson Tonight Major Newspapers New York Times Wall Street Journal Washington Post Tucker Carlson Fareed Zakaria Donald Trump Vicente Fox

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