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Expert Available to Discuss Migrant Surge at US-Mexico Border
For your continuing coverage of the surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, Latin America expert Gladys McCormick is available for an interview.
McCormick, assistant professor of history in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, specializes in the political and economic history of Latin America and the Caribbean, corruption, drug trafficking and political violence. McCormick is currently working on two books: one detailing the history of torture in Mexico since the 1970s, and the other a co-authored overview of drug trafficking in Latin America.
For use in media stories, here is McCormick’s perspective on the Biden administration’s handling of the migrant crisis and its relationship and negotiations with Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador:
“While Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador would have preferred a continuation of the Trump presidency, all is not lost. He now has a short window to pressure the Biden administration to bend to his will. The growing crisis at the border—between asylum seekers and higher rates of undocumented crossings—is gleaning so much attention from the U.S. media that Biden must address concerns as to not muddy his first 100 days in office.
“Biden has just sent Roberta Jackson to Mexico City to negotiate with Mexican officials on how to address the waves of migrants. She is likely empowered to negotiate concessions over both trade between the two countries as well as financial assistance to address the surge of asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. Depending on what Jacobson puts on the table, Obrador will draw out the negotiations to gain further concessions the longer the news threatens to undermine the Biden agenda north of the border. He will undeniably use the seeming capitulation of the Americans to Mexico to deflect attention away from some of his domestic challenges, including his botched handling of the COVID-19 crisis. This is more certain considering the mid-term elections taking place in Mexico this coming summer that are seeing as a referendum of sorts on the Obrador presidency.
“The recent rise in Mexicans detained at the border—according to Pew Trust, an increase of 13%—has to do with a range of factors, most likely because the pandemic has wreaked havoc with the Mexican economy and there is a brief window where the weather allows for overland crossings. By mid-May, the summer heat will make such a trip too risky to take.
“The increasing number of asylum seekers at the border, specifically the six cities designated under the now-eliminated ‘Remain In Mexico’ policy, can be explained as a perfect storm. The growing security crisis in Venezuela, Central America’s Northern Triangle, Brazil and Cuba have propelled many to flee for their lives. The pandemic has also led to the contraction of many economies south of the border by 20%, resulting in a wave of people fleeing for financial reasons.
“Lastly, climate change—in the form of two massive hurricanes hitting Central America this past year—devastated large swaths of the region. Added to these factors is the readiness of organized criminal syndicates pivoting to human trafficking as part of their portfolio of services. Several of them are undeniably drumming up business by twisting or manipulating the Biden administration’s repeal of Migrant Protection Protocols to suggest that now is the time to jump the line of what will likely be a growing crisis at the border.”
For more information or to request an interview with Professor McCormick, please contact:
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