World

As Trump Presidency Looms, Mexico, Central America Seek Joint Strategy on Migrants

Trump’s election has sent shockwaves through Mexico and Central America, which rely heavily on US remittances and bilateral trade with their neighbour.

Mexico's Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu (2nd L) and her counterparts Maria Dolores Aguero (L) of Honduras, Carlos Raul Morales of Guatemala (2nd R) and Hugo Martinez of El Salvador, attend a news conference over measures to protect migrants living in the US in response to Donald Trump winning the US presidency, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, November 21, 2016. Credit: Reuters

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu (2nd L) and her counterparts Maria Dolores Aguero (L) of Honduras, Carlos Raul Morales of Guatemala (2nd R) and Hugo Martinez of El Salvador, attend a news conference over measures to protect migrants living in the US in response to Donald Trump winning the US presidency, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, November 21, 2016. Credit: Reuters

Guatemala City: The foreign ministers of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala met on Monday to form a strategy to protect their migrants in the US, 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 US remittances and bilateral trade with their rich northern neighbour.

Trump romped to victory in the November 8 election by vowing to end illegal immigration and re-examine trade treaties that he said have led US firms to ship jobs south to lower-wage economies.

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

Many of the migrants bound for the US 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 US authorities, and to meet regularly for regional talks.

Claudia Ruiz Massieu, Mexico’s foreign minister, said the US 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 January 20, US president-elect Trump is currently picking his cabinet.

(Reuters)