Leaders on both sides of the US-Mexico border are cracking down on illegal immigration as a way to score political points ahead of upcoming presidential elections, sources have revealed to The Post.

Mexican President Manuel López Obrador and President Joe Biden spoke on April 28 and agreed to take swift action “to immediately implement concrete measures” on border matters.

Following the call, the Biden administration rolled out new restrictions for asylum interviews taking place at the southern border which would allow officers to quickly remove migrants who don’t prove they have a ‘credible fear’ of returning to their home country from the US.

Meanwhile, Mexico, which is holding elections on June 2, has been pulling migrants off trains and buses headed towards the US and also carrying out more deportations as part of the recent agreement.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Eyepix Group/LightRocket via Getty Images

Former Yuma Sector Chief Border Patrol Agent Chris Clem feels these measures are three and a half years too late and notes the “timing is geared to supporting the [Biden] administration and its reelection bid,” in November.

“This too little too late strategy is not good. I also don’t see it being sustained if [Biden] remains in office, it will likely be turned off as quickly as they are trying to turn it off,” Clem told The Post.

Heritage Foundation Latin America expert Andres Martinez-Fernandez said Mexico also has motivations to crack down.

He said for Mexico, the country faces the possibility of a “more aggressive” presidency if Donald Trump wins in November, and that he would likely implement a promised mass deportation of illegal immigrants and closing of the border to further migrants.

“Since December’s unprecedented spike in migration to the US, the Biden administration has been beseeching Mexico to crack down on migration. Mexico has responded with a major increase in border enforcement, in part because President Lopez Obrador realizes the Trump administration will be a much more aggressive counterpart than the Biden administration,” Martinez-Fernandez told The Post.

Biden’s new measures are likely motivated by opinion polls, which show immigration being a top issues for voters, after millions have poured through the border since Biden took office and crippled services in cities like New York, Chicago and Denver.

The surge in illegal migration has proven to not be “politically sustainable in Mexico, in the US, or anywhere else,” according to Tony Payan, director of the Center for the US and Mexico at Rice University’s Baker Institute.

Migrants turn themselves in to Border Patrol at a makeshift camp in Jacumba Hot Springs, California James Keivom

More than half of Americans — including 42% of Democrats — support mass deportations of undocumented immigrants, according to an Axios Vibes survey by the Harris Poll released on April 25.

“I think there’s a lot of pressure from the Biden administration on the Lopez Obrador administration to crack down. Biden has a particular interest in deactivating immigration as a political issue in the fall, this is his Achilles heel,” Payan told The Post.

“I think Biden made some mistakes early on by sending the wrong message that the border was open, that migrants could come in and they could find asylum in the United States and I think very soon they realized that the border was overrun,” Payan said, adding that the issue has given Republicans “ammunition.”

President Joe Biden AP

President Lopez Obrador has to step down at the end of his term and is backing Claudia Sheinbaum as his successor of his ruling party, Morena. She is currently the frontrunner in Mexico’s presidential election, which will take place on June 2.

Sheinbaum has emphasized the US must work with Mexico on immigration issues, but also claims migration is important and helps to fill jobs in America.

In addition to both Mexico and the US, Panama’s president-elect, Jose Raul Mulino, has vowed to close the Darien Gap, a dangerous stretch of jungle connecting South America to Central America which was traversed by more than 500,000 migrants in the last year.

“Panama and our Darien [Gap] are not a transit route. It is our border,” Mulino said, according to Voice of America.

Migrants arrive to a makeshift camp after crossing into the US from Mexico James Keivom

Panama has also been aiding migrants who make it onto their territory and busing migrants north, aiding in their journey to the US, which is something Mulino wants to end.

“When we start to deport people here in an immediate deportation plan, the interest for sneaking through Panama will decrease,” Mulino said, according to Voice of America.

“I assure you [migrants] are going to say going through Panama is not attractive because they [will] deport you.”

With Post wires

Source link