For the first time ever in 2014, the U.S. recorded more undocumented migrants from Central America than from Mexico. In particular, 52,000 unaccompanied children were detained between October 2013 and June 2014. With what seemed to be a looming humanitarian crisis to deal with, the Obama administration enlisted the help of Mexico, and President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration.
Together, they launched the Southern Border Program initiative: the U.S. provided funding, equipment, and training to Mexico in exchange for a crackdown along Mexico’s southern border. After all, many would-be migrants from Central America to the U.S. must pass through Mexico first.
This policy worked for a few years, but levels of undocumented migrants are on the rise again. And the mounting human costs make it increasingly difficult to call a success.