Mexico, Central America seek joint strategy on migrants as Trump looms

During his election campaign, Trump said he plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, insisting that Mexico will pay for it.

By: Reuters | Guatemala City | Published:November 22, 2016 11:15 am
FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2016 file photo, President-elect Donald Trump waves as he arrives at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. Thousands of high school students from Seattle to Silver Spring, Md., have taken to the streets since Trump's election to protest his proposed crackdown on illegal immigration and his rude comments about women. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)  President-elect Donald Trump. (AP Photo)

The foreign ministers of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala met on Monday to form a strategy to protect their migrants in the United States, in a show of regional solidarity following Donald Trump’s win in the US presidential election.

Trump’s election upset has sent shockwaves through Mexico and Central America, which rely heavily on U.S. remittances and bilateral trade with their rich northern neighbour. Trump romped to victory in the Nov. 8 election by vowing to end illegal immigration and re-examine trade treaties that he said have led U.S. firms to ship jobs south to lower-wage economies.

During his election campaign, Trump said he plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, insisting that Mexico will pay for it.

Many of the migrants bound for the United States hail from the poor nations of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, and there are concerns that Trump’s promise to deport millions would have grave repercussions in Central American countries with few jobs and shaky security.

On Monday, at a meeting in Guatemala City, the foreign ministers of the Central American countries asked Mexico for help to create a migrant protection network, liaise for coordination with U.S. authorities, and to meet regularly for regional talks.

Claudia Ruiz Massieu, Mexico’s foreign minister, said the U.S. immigration policy remained unchanged at the moment, and added Mexico’s focus on human rights and deepening bilateral links, including at the border, was unshaken.

“Mexico is in a situation of alertness, strengthening our services and capabilities to reach wherever our community is,” she said.

Reuters reported last week that Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador had agreed seek support from Mexico, and work together to forge a joint strategy in response to Trump’s surprise win.

With his inauguration set for Jan. 20, President-elect Trump is currently picking his cabinet.