National Press Club

Mexican presidential contender deplores Trump's immigration policies and proposed wall

March 15, 2017 | By Tierney Plumb |

Andrés Manuel López Obrador

Andrés Manuel López Obrador

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the leading contender in Mexico's 2018 presidential election, spoke against President Donald Trump's immigration policies and proposed border wall at a National Press Club Newsmaker event March 15.

“Trump is blaming migrants for problems in the U.S., and we are not going to permit this,” he said. “In the end it’s Neo-fascism.”

The problems in the U.S. stem from “great inequality” and its tax system, which he hoped will become “more progressive and fair to all Americans.” Bad government and income distribution are to blame, he added.

López Obrador, the founder of Mexico´s new leftist Morena Party (Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional-National Regeneration Party), was mayor of Mexico City from 2000 to 2005. He ran unsuccessfully for president in both 2006 and 2012 but now leads in the polls by 10 points.

López Obrador said current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is "acting submissively" and "without asserting the human rights of migrants."

The presidential contender came to the U.S. to file a petition at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, calling for the group to issue an injunction to protect immigrants subject to arbitrary deportation as a result of the Executive Orders issued by Trump. The commission will proceed to analyze, judge, investigate the issue raised in the complaint.

The Morena Party gathered 12,000 signatures to ask the IACHR to issue precautionary measures in defense of immigrants illegally living in the U.S. and affected by Trump's immigration stance.

“This campaign of hate is unjust, it’s inhumane, and based on politicking and electoral interest. Trump thinks this propaganda will help him in his next election," the presidential contender said.

López Obrador's planned trip to the United Nations on Tuesday was cancelled due to Storm Stella, but he said he plans to submit a letter related to the immigration violations.

Peña Nieto and Trump have recently agreed to be silent about the wall and payment for it. López Obrador called the agreement "shameful."

"Cooperation should be the central principal between the U.S. and Mexico," he said. "Peace is the product of justice and problems and relations between two countries cannot be resolved through walls."

Trump's immigration policies violate rights protected by international law, which include non-discrimination, family unification, access to justice, private property and salaries of immigrants, said lawyer Netzaí Sandoval, who traveled to the U.S. with López Obrador.

"Kids have the right to not be separated from their parents. It's a basic principle of humanity," Sandoval said.

As of Wednesday, Sandoval had requested precautionary measures for 30 immigrants from Mexico and Guatemala, with more cases likely coming in soon.