United States President Donald Trump’s threats to close the U.S. border are “terrorism” aimed at coercing Mexico to implement stricter immigration policies, according to a Catholic priest and migrants’ advocate.
In an interview with the media organization Grupo Healy, Alejandro Solalinde also said that Trump “hates everyone but especially migrants,” denied the existence of the so-called “mother of all caravans” and claimed that United States “operators” manipulate information about migration flows for political gain.
Asked whether the U.S. president’s border shutdown threats were generating hysteria in Mexico, the priest responded flatly:
“It’s terrorism, it has to be said . . . even if he doesn’t end up doing it . . .”
Solalinde, director of a migrant shelter in the state of Oaxaca and well known human rights activist, said the threats have already succeeded in scaring the federal government, and there is evidence that Mexican authorities are helping the Trump administration carry out its immigration agenda.
A report in The New York Times last month said “authorities are blocking groups of migrants at border towns, refusing to allow them on to international bridges to apply for asylum in the United States, intercepting unaccompanied minors before they can reach American soil, and helping to manage lists of asylum seekers on behalf of the American authorities to limit the number of people crossing the border.”
Nevertheless, the U.S. president has often asserted that Mexico isn’t doing anything to stem migration flows from the Northern Triangle of Central America although he stated last week that “Mexico has been capturing people and bringing them back to their countries.”
Solalinde said that he wasn’t surprised by Trump’s tough stance on immigration because “Donald Trump hates everyone but he especially hates migrants.”
Referring to the United States’ decision to cut off aid to Central American countries, the priest said it was “undeniable” that Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador had taken U.S. money without using it for its intended purpose, acknowledging that Trump sometimes “tells the truth as well.”
Solalinde added that “previous governments of Mexico have also stolen United States money – they deceived them, it’s not true that they did what they said they did because they provoked circular migration.”
The priest claimed “the only thing that is going to stop migration flows, especially from the Northern Triangle, is investment in development . . . employment is the only thing that is really going to stop migration.”
Trump’s recent border closure threats came in the wake of Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero’s claim on March 27 that a “mother of all caravans,” which could have “more than 20,000 people”, is forming in Honduras.
Solalinde said that there was no evidence that such a caravan was gathering and charged that “North American operators” were involved in creating a myth about its existence as well as generating hype and hysteria about real flows of migrants traveling through Mexico to the United States.
“There is a geopolitical and geostrategic interest of the United States to demonstrate that they [the migrant caravans] are a danger, an invasion,” he said.
“These manipulations of the caravans benefit Donald Trump,” Solalinde added, claiming that United States interests want to “destabilize Mexico . . . create a point of tension between the U.S. and Mexico, and that point is migration.”
The day after Sánchez Cordero referred to the “mother of all caravans,” Trump took to Twitter to assert that Mexico and Central American countries do nothing to stem “illegal immigrants” to the United States.
“Mexico is doing nothing to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants to our country. They are all talk and no action. Likewise, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have taken our money for years and do nothing . . . May close the southern border!” he wrote on March 28.
Following that threat and several others, President López Obrador has remained diplomatic, a strategy Solalinde described as “very prudent.”
In an extensive interview, the activist priest also asserted that Mexican criminal groups are involved in human trafficking and the organ trade and that he was aware that some of the migrants who were kidnapped in Tamaulipas last month have been killed.
Solalinde said that he believed that López Obrador “loves migrants because they are poor” and “wants to help them,” a claim supported by the federal government’s decision to grant more than 10,000 humanitarian visas earlier this year that allows emigrants to work in Mexico and access services.
However, the priest added that there was a risk that pressure from the United States and the influence of Interior Secretary Sánchez and National Immigration Institute chief Tonatiuh Guillén could persuade the president to adopt policies that don’t reflect his “political will.”
Source: Frontera. Info (sp)