Consequences of Trump’s ‘Stay in Mexico’ Policy
Editor’s note: Below are excerpts from fighters in Texas who spoke with the People’s Tribune and its sister publication, the Tribuno del Pueblo.
Carlos Marentes from the Border Agicultural Workers Project in El Paso
Media suddenly discovered El Paso after the killings, but it has been like this for years. What is different today is the level of militarism by the border communities, and what is also new is the cooperation of the Mexican government with the Trump administration.
Everyday we see buses of migrants apprehended at the border brought to a nearby installation for processing. Then buses cross from Mexico to El Paso and then take people back to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
So now we have close to 20,000 migrants stuck in Juárez. To add to the situation, white supremacist groups killed 22 people and injured 30. Some were members of our organization. We have denounced the presence for years of paramilitary groups collaborating with the Mexican government to contain migrants.
Those killings are presented as a terrorist act in a city called safe, but this is not the truth. The violence and repression on the border communities has been present all our lives. El Paso has been compared to a laboratory for repression and military containment for any sort of discontent, like poverty.
So we have dedicated more time to organize the resistance of the migrant communities in the barrios where the majority are Mexican. It is important to understand that migration is an act of resistance. People are challenging the system that is waging an offensive against them. It is a war against the poor and working people throughout the United States.”
Gabriela Zavala: from an asylum seeker network in the Rio Grande Valley and Matamoros, Mexico:
“People are sent to Mexico where there are no resources to await U.S. immigration proceedings. Instead of connecting them with sponsors and family members on the U.S. side, they are sent to Mexico. This is creating a homeless population in a dangerous area – people are sleeping in parks, in abandoned buildings, many with children. All are vulnerable to organized crime and drug traffickers. We’re seeing a level of desperation. The idea of U.S. immigration policy is to make it more difficult for people to access the process. The policies create obstacles to getting legal assistance, which is why a main purpose for our center is to connect people with legal assistance [and other needs]. We are working with groups of volunteer attorneys.”