Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador intends to create a new border-police force to fight illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and illicit firearms trafficking from Central America, his incoming chief of public security Alfonso Durazo, told Bloomberg in an interview Monday.
Durazo indicated that the new border-police force would be part of a much larger regional effort to reduce poverty and violence that plagues so many Central American countries, which ultimately leads to a flood of families crossing into Mexico. He said the new police force will be sizeable and deployed to Mexico’s southern border. Durazo declined to offer more specifics to Bloomberg, but he noted that the police force would be used to secure the northern border as well.
“We’re going to create a border police force that will be highly specialized,” Durazo told Bloomberg.
“They need to apply the law,” against illegal immigration and human trafficking crossing into Mexico, which Durazo points out often occurs under the supervision of corrupt officials.
Lopez Obrador and the left-wing populist party he founded in 2014 won the presidential election in a landslide victory last week after voters disgusted with cartel violence, poverty-stricken communities, and vast amounts of corruption kicked the country’s established parties out of power. Obrador also got a boost from voters when he pledged to defend Mexicans against an immigrant crackdown by President Donald Trump.
Obrador’s next task will be securing the country’s southern border while avoiding the sharp criticism he has scrutinized Trump for.
The newfound emphasis on containing illegal immigration comes amid President Trump’s crusade to shift some of the blame on Mexican officials for the tidal wave of Central American immigrants passing through Mexico to the U.S. Interesting enough, President Trump said: “I think he’s [Mexico’s President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador] going to try and help us with border.”
"I think he's going to try and help us with border," Trump said of Mexico's President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador pic.twitter.com/ij5TtjmJKP— POLITICO (@politico) July 2, 2018
The outgoing Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto, will transfer power to Obrador on December 1st. Peña Nieto leaves behind a country with declining moral and widespread doubts about the future.
Bloomberg notes that Obrador will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, as both will likely discuss immigration topics.
Durazo told Bloomberg that the new border-police force under the Obrador administration would not only secure the country’s borders, it will also address the socioeconomic issues that have contributed to the surge in illegal migration from Central America. This new approach has not been tried by past administrations.
The future public-security chief told Bloomberg that the establishment has failed to contain illegal immigration due to an overemphasis on enforcement and an underemphasis on the humanitarian side of helping poverty-stricken communities.
“The legitimate use of force by the state is a resource,” Durazo said.
“But it shouldn’t be the first resource, it should be the last one.”
Durazo said the only way to fight government corruption, which facilitates human trafficking and drug smuggling, is to significantly increase salaries and wages for law-enforcement officials. This would deter officials from taking bribes from cartels.
In another interview with The Associated Press, Durazo was optimistic about the reforms, which he called a “Mexican recipe for peace.” Still, Mexico’s record violence and homicides produced by drug cartels will not be resolved in one day. If the Obrador administration is successful in implementing new reforms that secure the borders and tackle regional socioeconomic issues, this could be a winning strategy for North America as a whole, but, as of today, Mexico is still a shithole.