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Trump defends use of tear gas at the border

Former U.S. ambassador to Mexico: Trump’s migrant policy is a ‘failure’

A former U.S. ambassador to Mexico on Thursday ripped the Trump administration’s approach to dealing with asylum-seeking migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border, calling Trump’s handling of the issue a “failure” and urging the administration to increase its investments in Central America.
In an op-ed published by The New York Times, Roberta Jacobson wrote that instead of deploying U.S. troops to the southwest border, the White House should instead work with Mexico and Central American governments to expedite the asylum process and address more of the issues that cause migrants to uproot their lives to begin with.
“Trying to stop immigrants as the Trump administration is doing — unilaterally, at the border and with tear gas and troops — is a sign of only one thing: failure,” wrote Jacobson, an appointee of President Barack Obama who served as U.S. ambassador in Mexico City from 2016 until early this year. The former ambassador co-authored the op-ed with Dan Restrepo, a special assistant for Western Hemisphere affairs under Obama.
Restrepo and Jacobson, who also served under Obama as assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, called for “radically increasing the United States’ capacity to adjudicate asylum claims,” in the short term, citing a backlog in processing the claims as increasing tension in the region.
But they said in the long term, the Trump administration must re-adjust its policies in Central America, expanding its refugee programs in the so-called Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and leveraging the interest in solving the migrant crisis expressed by Mexico’s incoming president.
Trump has threatened to cut off assistance to countries in Central America who don’t sufficiently work to block asylum-seeking migrants on their way to the U.S. and has largely shrunk away from international organizations seeking to address the issue of mass migration. But Jacobson and Restrepo argued that more investment in refugee and economic development programs is necessary to stem the exodus of “desperate” migrants from the region.
While Jacobson’s most high profile positions came during her tenure in the Obama administration, her career has spanned White Houses controlled by both parties with placements including deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Peru and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Canada, Mexico and NAFTA issues.
By not working to address the migrant crisis at the source, and instead “wastefully deploying troops to string concertina wire as cameras roll, ignoring our historical role as a haven for the persecuted or manufacturing a crisis for political purposes,” the Trump administration only serves to compound the issue at the border, the op-ed’s co-authors wrote.