From the Border Observatory, an online blog of the Border Hope Institute:
“I think we would have been in a significantly worse position in McAllen [Tex.] and the Rio Grande Valley if it wasn’t for the work that Mexico was doing on their southern border.”--Gil Kerlikowske, U.S Commissioner of U.S Customs and Border Protection 2014-2017 (during the Obama administration)1
exico faces a potentially historic presidential election on July 1st, which may result for the first time in the victory of a center-left candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. López Obrador does not represent either of the two political parties - the centrist Partido Revolucionario Institucional (Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI, in power from 1929 through 2000 and again since 2012) and the center-right Partido Acción Nacional (National Action Party or PAN, in power between 2000 and 2012) which have dominated Mexican political life. Remarkably, given longstanding Mexican migration to the U.S., this is the first time that issues related to migrant rights have emerged as a major theme in presidential elections, primarily in response to President Trump’s rhetoric and policies.
The presidential debates have included the positioning of these issues as a central topic, particularly in the campaign’s second debate held in Tijuana on May 20th. Little of substance as to migrant rights issues was proposed by any of the candidates, other than a consensus that Mexican consulates should step up efforts in defense of Mexican nationals in the U.S and receive repatriated Mexicans and migrants in transit more generously and humanely. Suggestions were made that Mexico should exert leverage to demand greater protection for Mexican migrants in the U.S. in return for security cooperation and drug war efforts. But neither the candidate of the PRI (former foreign relations and treasury secretary José Antonio Meade) nor the candidate of a coalition led by the PAN (Ricardo Anaya, former president of the Chamber of Deputies) were held accountable during for failures to lead or support initiatives to defend migrant rights during their tenure, or for complicity in longstanding abuses against both Mexican migrants and migrants in transit.
Mexican citizens residing in the U.S. and elsewhere will participate as voters in the election in larger numbers than ever before. Regardless of who wins, a key test of the administration that will be inaugurated on December 1st will be its effectiveness in addressing the migrant rights issues highlighted below, part of the broader ethical and political imperatives for Mexico to overcome its crisis in human rights since the drug war became militarized under former President Felipe Calderón. Continue reading