- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Mexican government waded deeply into American politics Tuesday, filing a protest with the U.S. government over the Trump administration’s decision to revoke the deportation amnesty for Dreamers and demanding U.S. lawmakers quickly move to protect Mexicans who face deportation.

But Mexico, in a statement released by the government, also said it would gladly take back the hundreds of thousands of its citizens currently living in the U.S. without permission.

“Mexico will receive Dreamers who return to our country with open arms,” the government said, adding it’s already begun making preparations. “In accordance with instructions from President Enrique Peña Nieto, the agencies of the federal government are strengthening their efforts to offer them the greatest support, take advantage of their talents and skills, and fully integrate them into our society and national economy.”

Mexico said it was creating a special job bank to help Dreamers find jobs back home, would offer scholarships for future study, and would help those returning to enroll in public benefits programs.

President Trump’s decision, announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, phases out the DACA program over the next couple of years, allowing those already approved to use the remainder of their two-year stays of deportation, but quickly halting new approvals.

The administration said it had little hope of successfully defending the program in court, so the phaseout was better than the alternative, which could have meant a court order immediately stopping DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Immigrant-rights advocates, environmentalists, business groups and congressional Democrats were enraged by Mr. Trump’s decision, arguing he should have fought a potentially losing legal battle anyway.

Mr. Trump has said it’s up to Congress to provide a more firm legal footing for the 800,000 or so young adults who’ve been approved for DACA status over the last five years.

Nearly 90 percent of DACA recipients are Mexican, signaling just how much of the illegal immigration problem in recent years has been influenced by events south of the border.

And with nearly 10 percent of its citizens living in the U.S. — many of them without permission — Mexico has long taken a deep interest in U.S. immigration policy.

After taking a relatively hands-off policy under President Obama, however, Mexico has been goaded into a more confrontational stance, butting heads with Mr. Trump after the U.S. president blasted Mexican immigrants as criminals and vowed to soak the Mexican government for the cost of a border wall.

While admitting it is a conduit for most of the illegal immigrants who enter the U.S., Mexico says lax American laws allow illegal guns and money to flow south, arming the drug cartels that have spawned violence across Mexico.

Those recriminations seem likely to increase in the wake of the DACA decision.

In its statement Tuesday, Mexico said it’s been in touch with the U.S. Homeland Security Department to try to learn more about the six-month phaseout of DACA.

Geronimo Gutierrez, Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S., met with acting secretary Elaine Duke to register his country’s protest.

Mr. Gutierrez also sent letters to members of Congress “to explain the value of DACA participants to U.S. society and exhorting them to find a quick and permanent solution that will provide those participants with legal certainty.”

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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