One lesser-known feature of new U.S. immigration policies announced earlier this week—which will make the majority of undocumented immigrants targets for deportation—is the requirement of a willing partner for some of the measures to be implemented. According to Department of Homeland Security memos, any person caught illegally crossing the border from Mexico will be returned to Mexico, regardless of his or her nationality, while deportation processes and asylum claims are worked out by American courts.
This provision would effectively make America’s southern neighbor responsible for the lives of non-Mexican nationals seeking life or refuge in the United States. “If present immigration trends continue, that could mean the United States would push hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Brazilians, Ecuadorans, even Haitians into Mexico,” Ginger Thompson and Marcelo Rochabrun explained at ProPublica. “Currently, such people are detained in the U.S. and allowed to request asylum.”
The revised rules caught the Mexican government off-guard, particularly since they were announced one day before Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly were due to arrive in Mexico for bilateral talks on Wednesday. Officials in Mexico City were not pleased with the development. "I want to say clearly and emphatically that the government of Mexico and the Mexican people do not have to accept provisions that one government unilaterally wants to impose on the other," Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray told reporters on Wednesday. Roberto Campa, who heads a human rights department within Mexico’s Interior Ministry, called the new provisions “hostile” and “unacceptable.”