Mexico’s border security efforts – Turkey is buying weapons from Russia

Grind for July 18th
“Never doubt the courage of the French. They were the ones who discovered that snails are edible.”
– Doug Larson


The Headline

Under pressure from Trump, Mexico is working hard to boost immigration enforcement

The Grind

One June 7th, Mexico reached a deal with the Trump Administration to boost immigration enforcement and allow more asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are processed in the US.

The goal is to reduce the flow of migrants from Central America through Mexico to the United States.

Mexico’s first move was to deploy thousands of National Guard troops to patrol its southern border with Guatemala and its northern border with the US.

Immigration agents are also searching cars and buses at checkpoints on major highways and conducting frequent raids on La Bestia – a freight train that for years has carried migrants through Mexico.

The Details

As part of a broader effort to disrupt people-smuggling networks, Mexico in June fired 500 immigration agents that had been accused of human trafficking and extorting migrants.

In the meantime, the number of asylum seekers sent to the US to wait in Mexico has nearly doubled.

Mexican authorities have registered more than 31,000 people seeking asylum so far this year, most of them from Honduras and the agency is struggling to process applications on a meager budget of just $1.2 million.

Asylum-seekers are forced to wait in some of Mexico’s most dangerous cities, and in some cases decide to return home rather than wait for a chance to live in the US.

The Takeaway

While it should not have taken such pressure from President Trump, Mexico is finally taking responsibility for a major problem.

And it seems to be working.

In June, the US saw a 28% drop in the number of people detained at the southern border (the first decrease in a year). That month, Mexican authorities detained more than 29,000 people (an increase of more than 200% compared to last June).

Through the “Remain in Mexico” program, the US has been able to return more than 8,000 asylum-seekers to Mexico since the June 7th deal (that’s more than double the total of the previous four months combined).

Authorities from Mexico and the US will meet later this month to assess Mexico’s progress.

Reason For Worry

The Headline

Turkey just bought a missile defense system from Russia

The Grind

The first pieces of an S-400 missile defense system arrived in Ankara this Friday.

Last month, US Acting Defense Sec. Mark Esper warned Turkey not to expect any F-35 fighter jets if it purchased the missile defense system from Russia.

“If Turkey procures the S-400, it will mean they will not receive the F-35. It’s that simple,” said Esper.

The Details

The S-400 is designed to detect and destroy stealth fighters like the F-35, and NATO members worry that its presence in Turkey could help Moscow discover valuable information about the jets.

“It is up to allies to decide what military equipment they buy,” said one NATO official. “However, we are concerned about the potential consequences of Turkey’s decision to acquire the S-400 system.”

Turkey reportedly paid Russia $2.5 billion for the defense system.

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