Putting generosity to the test
Protest against the migrant caravan - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL

Putting generosity to the test

19/11/2018
09:31
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader
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Throughout the 20th century, the Mexican foreign affairs policy that gained prestige for opening the door for all those who were seeking refuge or asylum

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In the face of the presence of thousands of Central American migrants, traveling through the country with the intention of arriving into the U.S. border, to enter without documents or request asylum, you can listen to groups of people who reject the presence of Hondurans, Salvadorans or Guatemalans in their neighborhoods. During a protest that took place yesterday in Tijuana, hundreds of inhabitants went out in the streets chanting “We don't want you!”.

Mexicans know a lot about xenophobic attitudes because millions of Mexicans have gone through similar situations in the U.S., when they started leaving the country in the 80s, to look for better opportunities.

The bad treatment of Mexicans in the U.S., which has been criticized for years, is beginning to be replicated against Central Americans.

The country now has to face a problem inside its borders. Will the rejection and intolerance prevail or the generosity that characterized Mexico in the previous century?

Throughout the 20th century, the Mexican foreign affairs policy that gained prestige for opening the door for all those who were seeking refuge or asylum. In the 1930s, the Spanish who fled the civil war and Franco's dictatorship arrived in Mexico, a few decades later Mexico became the home of thousands of South Americans who fled their countries after the establishment of military governments. In the 80s, thousands of Guatemalans were welcomed in Campeche. Now, these actions seem to be forgotten.

On their journey through the south and center of the country, the migrant caravan received aid from authorities and the population. It is true that their presence in Mexican cities is brief. They made a stop in Mexico City and stayed for almost a week; they were given shelter and food, as well as the option of requesting asylum and stay in the city. Whereas in Tijuana, they stay might be longer. The U.S. authorities process around 100 asylum requests every day, with very limited opportunities of granting them asylum in the face of Donald Trump's anti-migrant policies.

The local authority has claimed they lack the resources to help the migrants, which could be 10,000 in the incoming days when the other caravans arrive. The municipality has demanded federal aid.

For a long time, Mexico was a migrant generator. The phenomenon of thousands of people leaving their countries looking for refuge seemed distant and exclusive to Africa and Europe. Those who leave their countries do so because of violence and poverty. Mexican tolerance and generosity have been put to the test.
 

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