The Trump Administration has called off its tariff threat against Mexican importers.
Two days before the proposed commencement of his unpopular duty tax on Mexican goods, President Trump has announced a new bilateral trade agreement. It’s hoped that the agreement will mitigate persistent cross-national tensions which have ignited from Trump’s populist rhetoric. A Joint Declaration made after the deal has promoted a cooperative front for both nations in solving the shared challenges of irregular migration. Republican spokespersons have hailed this united front on border security as a huge victory for the American people. However, Trump’s political victory is marred by the unlawful violation of asylum seekers’ human rights. A ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy is a humanitarian disaster which fails to comprehend the central causes of Central American migration.
Washington’s aggressive foreign policy stance is unsurprising. Throughout Trump’s Presidency, he has repeatedly attacked Mexico’s security complacency and viciously fought for the funding of a border wall. Former Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Pascal Lamy, lambasted Trump’s unprecedented tariff weaponization, describing the Mexico deal as a “hostage taking.” Outspoken Trump critic and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also took aim at the handling of the deal stating “threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate foreign policy.” Firing back on Twitter Trump wrote “Nervous Nancy and the Democrat House are getting nothing done. Perhaps they could lead the way with the USMCA, the spectacular and very popular new Trade Deal that replaces NAFTA, the worst Trade Deal in the history of the U.S.A.”
Trump has avoided another crisis of his own making. Already waging a $360 billion tariff war with China, he has again flirted with severe economic consequences for the sake of ‘winning’ non-trade issues. While it’s too early to see whether new ‘enforced measures’ have an effect on curbing illegal immigration, it’s clear that asylum seekers’ lives will be more at risk than ever. Expanding failing Migrant Protection Protocols to ensure asylum seekers are returned to Mexican Detention Centres is cruel and counterproductive. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) survey showed that temporary shelters are rife with incidents of kidnapping, gang recruitment, human trafficking, and sexual abuse. This new transnational partnership directly opposes articles within the UN Declaration of Human Rights and rubbishes any concept of human decency.
Annually half a million migrants and asylum seekers illegally cross the United States Southern Border. The majority of these people aren’t Mexican but come from the turbulent Northern Triangle of Central America. The most powerful push factors from these regions are poverty and lawlessness. Harsh vitriol from politicians has done nothing to garner public sympathy toward the treacherous plight of Central American Asylum Seekers. Instead, White House Statements have demonized ‘illegal aliens’ correlating them to “draining our welfare system, and causing untold amounts of crime.” Such generalizations are categorically wrong, and misrepresent human suffering for political gain.
The asylum seeker crisis at the United States southern border has no clear cut solution. Though, fundamentally asylum seekers’ basic human rights must be protected. Infinite deportation isn’t a sustainable framework and the US Government must explore alternative strategies. Real change will begin with regional responses rather than border closures.
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