There hardly seems time to catch a breath in between Trump’s controversial anti-immigrant moves. Yet stricter deportation policies for illegal immigrants hardly comes as a surprise. President Donald Trump came to victory on the back of a heavily anti-immigrant campaign that focused on building a wall between the United States and Mexico border.
However, Mexico has condemned the latest guidelines drafted by the United States that would see almost any illegal immigrant deported to Mexico – whether they are Mexican or not.
Speaking out against the policy, Mexican Foreign Minister, Luis Videgaray, said that Mexico “cannot accept unilateral decisions imposed by one government on another.” He further stated: “We are not going to accept that because we don’t have to and it is not in the interest of Mexico.”
New changes to undocumented immigrant policy
The changes announced by the Trump administration this Tuesday include a plan to enforce the existing provision of the US Immigration and Nationality Act. The Act stipulates that authorities may send any illegal immigrant to Mexico, regardless of their country of origin.
Under the Obama administration, deportations were centered on immigrants convicted of serious crimes. But the latest changes have much broader implications and apply to almost all illegal immigrants.
Under the new guidelines, Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be given the authority to deport people immediately. Immediate deportations, otherwise known as “expedited deportations” can now be used against any undocumented immigrant anywhere in the US, who is unable to prove that they have been in the country for at least two years.
Previous measures only applied to illegal immigrants found within 100 miles of the border with less than two weeks’ stay in the US.
Relations between the US and Mexico are understandably tense, with President Peña Nieto canceling a meeting with the US president last month over a disagreement about the wall. Trump holds firm in the fact that he wants Mexico to shoulder the cost of the wall, thought to add up to billions of dollars.
The Trump administration is downplaying the latest measures, assuring that there will be no mass deportations. Furthermore, criminal offenders will be dealt with first and foremost. Under the new guidelines, government agents will be empowered to enforce already existing laws.
There are an estimation 11 million illegal immigrants residing on US soil, many of which are from Mexico. But Mr. Videgaray said that Mexico was prepared to defend the right of its people under international law, and even appeal to the United Nations. He also added that Mexico also had full control over its borders and would not be coerced into accepting deported illegal immigrants.