The most sensible solution to the problems between México and the United States, due to the migration crisis, is the agreement they signed a few days ago and that suspended the implementation of tariffs that would have made Mexican products more expensive and would have caused a great imbalance in trade throughout the region. Now it's time from both sides to comply with the conditions.
That will take a great deal of will. México needs to reinforce its southern border, more than a thousand kilometers in the border with Guatemala and Belize, crossed by immigrants fleeing from poverty and violence. The United States needs to help make a recovery process happen in countries such as Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala where most immigrants come from.
The efforts by Mexican authorities to curb the flow of immigrants, who then move through their territory until they reach the U.S.-México border have so far been unsuccessful. Until last April – and since October of 2018, just seven months – the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended more than 414,000 undocumented immigrants, a number that already exceeded by 18,000 the total number of immigrants apprehended the previous fiscal year, October 2017 to September 2018.
Authorities on both sides of the border have been overwhelmed, especially those organizations that provide shelter and food to families traveling just with their clothes. Children, in particular, face terrible conditions when traveling in caravans with relatives, or often alone.
The crisis escalated for an unquestionable reason: the desperate social and economic scenario in several Central American countries has become more and more complicated. In addition to government corruption, drug cartels have moved to other places. A large number of marginalized groups who used to live off on trading are now involved in vandalism, tearing up the little farmers and businesses have left.
That is why one of the architects of the agreement, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, pointed out that, in addition to the short-term measures with which the U.S. government has been reassured, it is necessary to speed up the project of aid to the Central American economies positioning México as a base, in a kind of Marshall Plan already designed, but that has not just begun.
If the root causes of migration are not attacked, it will be impossible to contain the wave of human beings who, victims of anarchy, surrounded by criminals and trapped by hunger, will probably prefer to confront the military lines that México is going to establish.
President Trump, after reaching the agreement, suspended the implementation of tariffs that since last Monday would have been 5 percent to all Mexican products, gradually raising the tax up to 25 percent. A scenario that could not only sink the Mexican economy into chaos but would also have repercussions in the United States and, of course, in Puerto Rico, where important consumption items would have been affected.
Forcing political, commercial or migratory changes by imposing or increasing tariffs can cause more problems in the long run than those that it is trying to solve. This is where historians and economists agree as they warn of the changes that the global trade balance could suffer if other countries assumed the same position. The tariff impasse with China, another pending issue, is also a cause for global concern.
But above all these considerations, there must be compassion for immigrants; dignified treatment for them at one border or another and hope that there will be no violence against them.