Almost all of the shooting victims at the Walmart in El Paso, Texas on Sunday were of Mexican heritage. Eight of those who died were Mexican citizens.
On Monday, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard visited victims and their families in El Paso in the hospital. Ebrard’s first statement to reporters indicated that he was sending a “diplomatic note” to Washington asking the Trump administration to take a “strong stand” against hate crimes.
Ebrard also said Mexico would seek to meaningfully “participate” in the American investigation of the atrocity.
Back in Mexico yesterday, Ebrard asked Mexico’s attorney general to consider requesting extradition to Mexico of the 21-year-old shooter, Patrick Crusius, so he could be charged under Mexico’s anti-terror laws. Were that to happen, Crusius would not face the death sentence he could well receive if convicted in a US court, since Mexican law does not authorize capital punishment.
Ebrard has also said that Mexico is considering filing a civil law suit in an American court against the seller of the weapon used by Crusius, speculating that a “red flag” law might have prohibited sale to Crusius, or that other firearm laws or regulations might have been violated.
None of Ebrard’s proposals are meaningful, and extradition and pursuit of a civil suit both amount to little more than pipe dreams. Such hollow talk is instead intended purely for domestic political consumption.
Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO, condemned the El Paso attack. He criticized the availability of firearms in the US, which leak into Mexico by the hundreds of thousands every year, feeding the thousands of murders that have continued to increase since AMLO took office.
But, like Ebrard, AMLO stopped far short of criticizing President Trump or his administration. “We don’t want to interfere in the affairs of other countries; we’re going to continue sticking to the principles of non-intervention,” AMLO said Sunday. A criminal complaint against Crusius for terrorist practices would be made to the US government “to act in accordance with its legislation”—but only “if appropriate.”
Martha Bárcena, Mexican ambassador to the United States, came closest to criticizing Trump. She tweeted the truism that “xenophobic and racist discourse leads to hate crimes,” but would not directly point to Trump.
Crusius wrote in a manifesto before carrying out his slaughter: “I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.” With this, he was taking his marching orders from Trump.
Trump has openly incited violence against immigrants and Hispanics throughout his presidency. He repeatedly called Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, and has often likened the flow of Hispanic immigrants to an invasion. Trump has mounted a war of US border agencies and the military to repel immigrants.
After posing the question of what could be done with refugee claimants at the border, Trump grinned broadly when a supporter shouted, “Shoot them!”
Yet AMLO and his government fail to criticize US government immigration policies. On the contrary—they have not simply pursued non-interference with those policies, they have enlisted Mexico’s and military and police in Trump’s reign of terror unleashed on Central American immigrants.
In another rally last week in Cincinnati, Trump lauded Mexico’s cooperation in the war on immigrants: “They’ve got 21,000 soldiers on the border right now. I’m starting to like the Mexicans; they do more for us than the Democrats.”
At the request of the US government Mexico also has implemented the “Remain in Mexico” policy, under which the US forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their US asylum claims are processed, regardless of their country of origin.
With Mexican nationalism as his point of departure, AMLO ends up as a servant of American imperialism. In the event, AMLO enables Trump’s cultivation of a fascist movement, while increasingly pursuing his own authoritarian direction and reliance on the military.
Along the entire Mexico-US border, families, as well as workers in production chains, are increasingly intertwined. Families live on both sides, children and workers cross back and forth every day to work, go to school and to shop. A globalized economy and a unified working class is now the daily reality.
Under capitalism, divided nation states serve only the interests of the American and Mexican ruling elites. This delivers increasing oppression of the working classes of both countries, while scapegoating foreign workers and immigrants for that oppression.