The Mexican government helped evacuate a number of Afghan New York Times journalists and their families for whom the U.S. immigration policy was reportedly too rigorous to allow their swift relocation into the United States.
Twenty-four families landed in Mexico City on Wednesday after a former international bureau chief for the paper personally requested help from the Mexican government amid the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.
Azam Ahmed, who used to run the paper’s Kabul and Mexico bureaus, messaged Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard via WhatsApp on Aug. 12 and asked him whether the Mexican government would accept refugees who were “good people who are trying to get out,” according to the New York Times.
Ebrard initially resisted but later called Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to determine how to get around immigration laws and provide temporary humanitarian protection to the Afghans. Ebrard later assured Ahmed that the Mexican government could help.
“We are right now committed to a foreign policy promoting free expression, liberties, and feminist values,” Ebrard told the outlet.
Ebrard said the Mexican government viewed the request “not as foreign policy between Mexico and the U.S. … [but rather as] a common position between someone who was a New York Times reporter in Kabul several years ago and myself, who was in the position to make some decisions.”
Mexico also plans to evacuate Wall Street Journal employees, and the country offered help to employees of the Washington Post, which did not disclose plans to evacuate its journalists.
“We are deeply grateful for the help and generosity of the government of Mexico,” New York Times publisher A. G. Sulzberger said of Mexico’s effort. “Their assistance has been invaluable in getting our Afghan colleagues and their families out of harm’s way. We urge the whole international community to follow this example and continue working on behalf of the many brave Afghan journalists who are still at risk.”
Evacuations of U.S. and other nationals from Afghanistan ahead of President Joe Biden’s Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline continue apace, even as allies France and Poland have said they will end their evacuation efforts before that date.
Source: Washington Examiner
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