President Trump Friday threatened to close the U.S. border with Mexico within a week, in a series of tweets in which he again expressed his frustration with what he called “weak immigration laws.”
One lesser-known feature of new U.S. immigration policies announced earlier this week—which will make the majority of undocumented immigrants targets for deportation—is the requirement of a willing partner for some of the measures to be implemented. According to Department of Homeland Security memos, any person caught illegally crossing the border from Mexico will be returned to Mexico, regardless of his or her nationality, while deportation processes and asylum claims are worked out by American courts.
Mexican officials said Sunday that they had captured a leader of the Juárez Cartel, Jesús Salas Aguayo, the man in charge of the gang’s operations in Ciudad Juárez during a convulsion of violence that made the city one of the world’s most murderous. Mr. Salas, 38, was arrested Friday in the town of Villa Ahumada, about 80 miles south of the Texas border, Mexico’s national security commissioner told reporters Sunday. Mr. Salas took over the cartel’s leadership this year after the arrests of its boss, Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, last October and his replacement, David Aaron Espinoza Haro, in January, the commissioner said.
In mid November, three caravans converged on Mexico City, led by family members of the forty-three students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School whose abduction, in late September, has led to nationwide protests. One caravan was coming directly from Guerrero State, where the students disappeared, another from the state of Chiapas, and another from the city of Atenco, in Mexico State, the site of the most notorious act of violent government repression committed by Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s current President, in 2006, when he was governor there. The plan was for the caravans to come together and for the travellers to lead a giant march on November 20th.
Demonstrators set fire to the local legislature building on Wednesday in the capital of the southwestern state of Guerrero in protests over the apparent massacre of 43 students by corrupt police and thugs from drug gangs. Violent demonstrations rocked several other states, where protesters blocked an airport and damaged the local office of President Enrique Pena Nieto's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). In Guerrero's capital of Chilpancingo, members of a teachers union set fire to the session hall in the state assembly building while also torching several cars outside.
Mexico has been roiled by near-constant protests in recent weeks, and all signs are that the demonstrations are continuing to gather steam. On Saturday, a large demonstration in Mexico City turned violent, with some protesters lighting cars on fire and attempting to burn down the presidential palace. On Monday, another demonstration shut down the Acapulco airport. On Tuesday, protesters set fire to the ruling party's regional headquarters in Guerrero state. This began as a movement to demand justice and answers in the case of 43 students who were kidnapped and likely killed by a drug cartel at the behest of corrupt politicians, but has turned into something much larger, touching on some of the biggest and most daunting issues facing Mexico today.
In a televised press conference on Friday, Mexico’s Attorney General, Jesús Murillo Karam, announced that the forty-three missing students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School had been executed and incinerated in the municipal dump of Cocula. He added one important qualification: the fragmented remains were too badly burned to permit any quick forensic confirmation of what the Attorney General was presenting, in macabre detail, as fact. Many people in Mexico City told me that they were in tears before the conference was over. The writer and musician Juan Carlos Reyna said that the news conference made him feel “like all of Mexico was being asphyxiated.” He was not alone.
A 6.4 magnitude earthquake shook Mexico City on Thursday, rattling buildings and prompting office evacuations, but there were no immediate reports of damage.