If help is needed, it should be offered

Mexico’s still relatively new leader, who took office only in December, had seemed even before this month to be attempting to do more to keep illegal immigrants from crossing the border into the United States. But U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on some imports from Mexico seem to have prodded that country’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to do even more.

Last week, quite possibly under pressure from Lopez Obrador, Mexico’s immigration chief resigned. He was replaced with a more hardline official, who formerly ran the country’s prison system.

Previously, Lopez Obrador had engaged in a housecleaning at the National Migration Institute, where about 500 workers were let go. His government also has pledged to send about 6,000 national guard members to patrol Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala.

That region is where the Mexican/U.S. immigration problem begins. Most illegal immigrants into our country these days are not Mexicans but, instead, Guatemalans or others from Central American nations. Mexico is only a transit point for them.

Lopez Obrador’s dilemma is clear: If he keeps people traveling through his country from proceeding to the United States, Mexico may be stuck with a large number of illegal immigrants — unless they can be stopped at the border with Guatemala.

Perhaps the Mexican government can make that happen. But that nation’s resources are much more limited than ours.

Mexicans often are sensitive to offers of U.S. help with anything. Still, if it appears Lopez Obrador needs help and is willing to accept it, the United States should offer it.

By Patricia Older

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