Mexico’s Congress made a bold proposal to the government’s executive branch this week in response to the United States’ separation of migrant children from their parents at its southern border: suspend cooperation with the U.S. on migration, counter-terrorism and the fight against organized crime.
In a Permanent Commission session Wednesday, Senate president Ernesto Cordero read a pronouncement that condemned the United States government’s zero-tolerance policy which led to the separation of more than 2,000 children from their parents after they crossed into the United States without going through an authorized port of entry.
The pronouncement called on the federal government to “withdraw from any scheme of bilateral cooperation with the United States of America on matters of migration, the fight against terrorism and the fight against organized crime as long as President Donald Trump doesn’t behave with the respect that migrants deserve.”
The Permanent Commission also called on international organizations to condemn the United States’ immigration policy and said it would send a letter to every member of the U.S. Congress urging them to put an end to the “cruel and inhumane” practice.
The same day, Trump succumbed to domestic pressure and signed an executive order aimed at ending the separation of families at the border.
Prior to signing the order, Trump maintained that the United States’ southern border would not be jeopardized by the decision.
“We’re going to have strong — very strong — borders, but we are going to keep the families together,” he said.
“I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated . . . [the policy] continues to be a zero-tolerance, we have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally.”
Trump’s signing of the executive order came just days after he said that the only way to stop the separation of families was through the actions of Congress because “you can’t do it through an executive order.”
However, after an onslaught of criticism he changed his mind.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Luis Videgaray, who earlier described the practice of separating children from their parents as “cruel and inhumane,” welcomed the decision in a Twitter post but added that the Mexican government would continue to provide consular protection to all children in vulnerable situations.
The president of the foreign affairs committee of the lower house of Congress, however, said that the executive order signed by Trump doesn’t go far enough to protect the rights of migrant children.
Víctor Manuel Giorgana of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) told the newspaper Milenio that even though the new order meant that children wouldn’t be separated from their parents, they would still be subjected to inhumane conditions in United States detention centers.
He also said that Trump’s decision was only taken due to the international and domestic pressure the U.S. president came under and charged that the treatment of migrant children should be in strict accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
A delegation of Congress members traveled to Washington D.C. yesterday in order to meet with their United States counterparts to discuss the treatment of migrants and lobby them to protect their rights.