Although the Trump administration has yet to begin construction on the Mexican-border wall, and Border Patrol forces have not yet been increased as proposed, President Trump has already had a profound cautionary effect on the mindset of people on the south side of the border.
“It’s just a lot harder to cross than we thought,” said Vicente Vargas, 15. He and four other teens from Mexico’s Puebla state decided to head back home when they became discouraged by the difficulty and cost of crossing the border. They were also concerned about being apprehended if they made it into the United States.
Along the border, those who have recently been deported and others headed for the U.S. are debating whether to risk heading north border, or to simply go home.
“There’s just a lot of uncertainty right now,” claims Jesus Arturo Madrid Rosas, a representative with Grupo Beta, a Mexican government aid organization that assists migrants. “People don’t know what’s going to happen. Maybe that’s keeping some people back.”
Rosas noted many factors affecting the decisions of prospective border-jumpers such as harsh weather, enhanced border enforcement that occurred prior to the Trump presidency, and escalating fees demanded by smugglers.
“It’s just too hard now with Trump,” said Alejandro Ramos Maceda, 33, who was recently deported after being apprehended on a traffic charge. Maceda claims to have a wife and two U.S.-citizen daughters in St. Louis. Considering the current climate, Maceda has chosen to remain in Mexico.
“Maybe my wife will come visit,” he said.
Even human smugglers, known in Mexico as “coyotes”, claim that the new administration’s tough stance on illegal immigration has left would-be border crossers uncertain.
“People are psychologically traumatized,” said one veteran smuggler, who asked to remain anonymous.
The immigration policies of the Trump administration have Mexicans worried about relatives and neighbors residing in the U.S. who might be deported, and about those who have been deported and might be permanently separated from their families.
Sheriff Tony Estrada of southern Arizona’s Santa Cruz County said, “That’s all anyone is talking about, Trump, the border, deportations, roundups. You hear it in the cafes, in the restaurants, everywhere. “People are scared.”
The LA Times quotes a Mexican police official on the matter:
“This Trump, I don’t agree with him, but he’s doing what his people want,” said Eliseo Estrada, a burly Nogales police commander standing on a high point where the existing border fence — an undulating, 15-foot-high curtain of steel shafts — separates this bustling city from the much smaller Nogales, Ariz. “Mexico could use a strong president too,” he said.
H/T: Los Angeles Times
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