Home Columns Will Mexico decide the US election? (The New Yorker)

Will Mexico decide the US election? (The New Yorker)

by Yucatan Times
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Top officials from the two countries are wrangling over immigration policy.

By Stephania Taladrid

One morning this spring, Alicia Bárcena, Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, stood at the edge of the Rio Grande, ready to board an airboat manned by U.S. Border Patrol agents. Settling into the front row, Bárcena put on protective glasses as the blades behind her started to whir. The current seemed mild—the water rushing below was barely audible—but agents said that this was the stretch of river where the most migrants had drowned. Earlier this year, the bodies of a Mexican woman and her two young children were recovered there, after they attempted to cross by night.

Bárcena took office last July, with a mandate from Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to oversee immigration matters. She was at the border to assert her country’s presence in a series of increasingly inflamed arguments. It was in this part of Texas, near the town of Eagle Pass, that Governor Greg Abbott had installed a floating barrier of buoys that drifted into Mexican waters last summer. Bárcena, who had started her job just days earlier, denounced the buoys as “a violation of our sovereignty” and a breach of long-standing treaties between the two nations. She asked the Biden Administration to have them removed. The Department of Justice sued Texas, arguing that the buoys were flagrantly illegal and risked “damaging U.S. foreign policy.”

Abbott ultimately moved the buoys back, but he did not remove them, and his defiance of the federal government’s authority over immigration has only grown more brazen. In January, after stringing miles of concertina wire along the Rio Grande, he deployed the state’s National Guard to patrol the area, effectively blocking federal agents. “The only thing that we’re not doing is, we’re not shooting people who come across the border,” Abbott said. “Because, of course, the Biden Administration would charge us with murder.”


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