Not only is the Mexican government not building a wall; it’s spending $50 million to beef up its legal aid to migrants who fear deportation, a response to President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
All 50 Mexican consulates in the U.S. on Friday launched legal assistance centers to form partnerships with nonprofit groups and tap lawyers to help those fearing Trump’s policies.
The diplomatic effort comes as the two countries are in a rift over Trump’s plans for a border wall. While Trump says Mexico will pay for it one way or another, Mexico says it won’t. It was also unveiled less than two weeks after new guidelines came out aimed at aggressively detaining and deporting immigrants by increasing the number of federal agents and strengthening cooperation with local law enforcement.
Miami’s Mexican consul general, Jose Antonio Zabalgoitia, said Friday that these centers would become “authentic advocates of the rights of Mexican migrants.”
“What changes today is that we are prioritizing legal matters over everything. Previously, we didn’t have the need to seek so much legal support for our people,” he said. “But now, we need to protect them against an eventual deportation.”