The Mexican government has abruptly changed its approach to the rising number of migrants passing through the country, no longer welcoming and assisting them, but instead arresting, detaining and turning back members of their caravans, USA Today reports. Humanitarian visas granted to migrants to live and work throughout Mexico have been cut off. The Mexican government has ordered bus operators to stop ferrying migrants across the country. Local police forces in several southern Mexican states have blocked migrants from entering town centers. Even local citizens have stopped offering plates of food, water and bundles of used clothing.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office last December, had vowed he would not do the “dirty work” of the United States by cracking down on migrants passing through his country. But now he must weigh a compassionate way to regularize migration through his country with President Donald Trump’s threats to seal the border and sanction Mexico. Maureen Meyer, director for Mexico and migrant rights at the Washington Office on Latin America, a non-partisan think tank, said those threats reverberated throughout Mexico, especially among its business leaders, because of the economic damage they could inflict on the country. “That is different than the impact of having more wall, which at the end of the day, Mexico does not agree with, but would not impact Mexico as a country,” Meyer said. “It’s certainly nothing compared to threats of closing one or two or all of the ports of entry. Those real, tangible and economic threats affect them way more.”