Donald Trump: “Mexico gave us 28,000 free soldiers” 

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Donald Trump delivers a speech at a Republican fundraising dinner in South Carolina in August 2023. 

The former president of the United States, Donald Trump (2017-2021) has assured this Tuesday that he forced the Mexican leader, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to establish immigration control measures under the threat of imposing tariffs on imports. And he has highlighted the deployment of Mexican National Guard agents on the border. “Do you remember when they said that Mexico did not pay [for the construction] of the wall? […] Mexico gave us 28,000 free soldiers. That is much more than a little [money] for the wall, ”he commented during an event in New Hampshire. 

The United States began building the border fence in 2018. Recently elected López Obrador tried to avoid confrontation, stating that he would address the issue later and through diplomatic channels. “Problems are not solved with walls, I am not going to fight with Trump,” he said then. The Mexican Executive carried out an unprecedented deployment a year later, in June 2019, to avoid Trump’s commercial threats: almost 15,000 agents —including soldiers and National Guard agents— mobilized in the north of the country to help stop the flow of migrants seeking to enter the United States; To them could be added the other thousands who joined the southern border. The former US president has stated that López Obrador denied the deployment at first. “I told them: ‘Okay, but there will be big consequences […] ‘If they don’t give us 28,000 soldiers, I’m going to put a 25% rate on everything Mexico sells to the United States,” he recalled.  

The former US president has also compared the agents of the Mexican National Guard deployed on the border with the troops of the revolutionary Pancho Villa, stating that they act harshly, with “incorrect” ways. “These soldiers are also not politically correct. Ours do have to be. If our soldiers speak a little rude to someone, they are imprisoned for life”, he explained. 

Trump has also highlighted the Stay in Mexico program – which held migrants at the border with the United States while their asylum application process lasted – and has charged against people seeking to cross into the country. “[The program] was another of my achievements, when people arrive, they enter our country, they stay and never leave. They are criminals, they come from prisons, ”he criticized. The immigration process of more than 70,000 people was affected during the Trump presidency. To them are added the more than 5,700 affected during Joe Biden’s term. “Biden is throwing everything overboard,” Trump added in his speech. The immigration control program came to an end last October. 

The border between Mexico and the United States has been in constant controversy, especially in recent years. Barack Obama (2009-2017) already earned the nickname “deporter in chief” during his tenure, which ended with more than three million deportations. Obama’s figures were higher than those of Donald Trump (2017-2021), whose Administration expelled 240,000 annually, close to a million by the end of his government. 

Source: El Pais