Mexico is in an even worse position than Turkey on the migrant issue


Irish Naval personnel from the LÉ Eithne rescuing migrants as part of Operation Triton in June 2015. Source Author: Irish Defence Forces. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The attempt by Donald Trump’s America to dump Central American migrants on Mexico reminds me of the refugee issue as experienced by two other countries – Turkey and Jordan.

In 2016, European countries negotiated with Turkey to hold as many Syrian refugees as possible, which is to say they were to be prevented from taking to boats and making for Europe.

The deal cut by the Europeans with Turkey undoubtedly brought down the numbers of new refugees bound for Europe. The volume of asylum claims also fell.

And every now and then, Turkey’s pugnacious President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would threaten to open the gates and allow refugees to flood into Europe once again.

Jordan’s situation is slightly different. As is sometimes said, other Middle Eastern countries have oil, Jordan has location. This has meant importance – and the problems that come with being located where it is.  It hosts millions of Palestinians; in fact this group is a majority in Jordan.

Now, with the Trump administration trying to draw up a peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians, King Abdullah fears Jordan will be pushed to provide a permanent home for the Palestinian refugees, changing the nature of something that was meant to be a temporary measure.

Mexico might well worry about what’s in prospect with Mr Trump insisting it should be the stopping point for migrants. That’s a bit like Europe did with Turkey but at least the Europeans did provide some monetary and other assistance.

By all accounts, Mr Trump is offering no such thing to Mexico. This is unfair. In fact, Mexico is in an even worse position than Turkey on the migrant issue. At least Turkey had a choice.