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Mexican ambassador calls on US to reopen border to mass migration

Migrants in Matamoros, Mexico. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
November 20, 2020

Mexico’s ambassador to the United States called on the United States on Tuesday to reopen to migration, amnesties, refugee inflows, asylum seekers, and more temporary contract workers.

During a discussion with the National Immigration Forum, Ambassador Martha Bárcena Coqui said the U.S. immigration system “has to be based on facts and realities.”

“The facts and realities is the need to protect the most vulnerable, the need to keep open the generosity towards refugees, the need to recognize the complementarity of labor markets and demographic profiles, the need for temporary workers in the United States,” she said.

Migration should not be considered a security threat, Coqui asserted, adding, “If you conceptualize migration as a national security issue, if you [push for] securitization of migration, and what is even worse, if you criminalize migration, then your approach always be policing, contentious [and] reduction of migration. So what we need is really to conceptualize migration …  as an economic and social and political phenomena.”

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The ambassador said more migrants are heading to the southern border of the United States in spite of worldwide coronavirus restrictions because “the root causes of these migrations have [not] disappeared”

Coqui also said the U.S. should amnesty numerous illegal migrants, in addition to importing more migrants through asylum applications.

“What we would like to see, of course, is that the U.S. embassies in Central America could process even more of these requests for asylum, instead of having people crossing through Mexico and asking for asylum at the border,” she said.

In 2019, 1,593 individuals from Mexico were granted asylum, an increase from 1,344 in 2018 and 1,028 in 2017, according to DHS data.

In the final three years of the Obama administration, 919 individuals from Mexico were granted asylum in 2016, 866 in 2015, and 589 in 2014, according to DHS data.

Immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services were paused by the Trump administration on March 20 as non-essential offices closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, exemptions were provided for critical visa services, such as those for medical professionals.

In 2019, nearly one million migrants were apprehended at the southern U.S. border, according to CBP data.