Will Mexico try to regulate Twitter and Facebook?

Mexico no longer taking in deported migrants from the U.S.

This week we’ll take a look at a new Mexican law that is leading to the release of migrants within the US and Ricardo Monreal’s proposed social media regulation that is sure to please AMLO. If you were confused about all of the “base de la pirámide” tweets this week, we’ve got you covered with a full explanation and a fresh Paris Hilton meme.

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How a Mexican law is forcing the US to release migrants ?

The Wall Street Journal / The New York Times

“Now is not the time to come to the United States” The regretful comment by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki seems to depict Joe Biden’s current stance on immigration: maintaining Trump’s policies for now. After promising to reform the immigration system, by ending the asylum restrictions, providing a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented migrants, and other measures, US officials don’t want to move too quickly on this, as it “could spark a surge in migrants, which could prove politically disastrous for Mr. Biden.”

Among the Trump-era policies still in place is Title 42. Citing public health concerns it allows US authorities to rapidly deport migrants to Mexico that are caught crossing the border illegally - under this practice, Central American children were sent to Mexico by accident. Democrats in Congress are pressuring President Biden to change the current deportation practices.

While Biden is “working” on fixing this, a Mexican law has come about that alters the US deportation policy. The law,  which took effect in January, prohibits the detention of immigrant children and families. So, Mexico stopped accepting families that were deported from South Texas under Title 42. This has caused Customs and Border Protection facilities in Texas to fill up, which, in turn, forces the Border Patrol to release migrants into the US.

  • “Per longstanding practice, when long-term holding solutions aren’t possible, some migrants will be processed for removal, provided a Notice to Appear, and released into the U.S. to await a future immigration hearing” - CBP

Some migrants have been dropped off at shelters by Border Patrol agents. In Del Rio, a border city in Texas, the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition told supporters on its Facebook page in late January that about 50 people a day were now being dropped off by Border Patrol agents at its shelter.

When will things get under control? Well.. unfortunately Joe did not immediately respond to requests for comment so we simply don’t know. The current administration has vowed to invest $4 billion in Central America to address economic insecurity, violence and government corruption as a way of discouraging migration. But that strategy will not help in the short term, which could reduce the possibility of new and softer deportation policies.

As for Mexico, a high level ranking official recently stated that his country’s deployment of the National Guard to detain migrants will not change in the foreseeable future.

🐦 Morena lawmaker wants to regulate Social Media to protect “freedom of expression”

Senate majority leader, Ricardo Monreal, is seeking to submit a bill in three weeks that would require social media companies, with over a million users, to ask for authorization to operate from the Federal Telecom Agency (IFT). The IFT would be in charge of establishing rules for the companies, such as prohibiting the use of algorithms that block accounts automatically and limiting the spread of fake news. The bill would also allow anyone whose account has been blocked to appeal the decision in the understaffed Mexican courts.

As punchy as this bill sounds, Senator Monreal, a presidential hopeful, has proposed extravagant bills in the past that never became law. Some say that this bill, as it was presented, will have the same fate, but others are wary about its general idea having AMLO’s blessings - the President criticized Twitter for banning Trump. Associated Press

💉 Where are we on the vaccine?

It’s been over three weeks since Mexico last received any vaccine doses - that is partially due to the scaling up of Pfizer’s Belgium plant. This has resulted in not all front-line healthcare workers getting the vaccine (that was the goal for January). Pfizer will resume sending its vaccines on Monday, although most of them will be used for second doses. The “good” news is that on Sunday morning Mexico will receive a million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. And we say “good”, because AMLO has said they will be used to vaccinate older adults, but many haven’t been able to register on the website that has been plagued by severe technical problems. 

Mexico has also approved Russian Sputnik V and Chinese CanSino and Sinovac vaccines but haven’t announced an official date when they will be available - CanSino formulas are expected to arrive today, but will need to be prepared for injection and will not be ready right away. Reuters

🎨 Christie’s ignores requests from Mexico’s government and rakes in $3 Million in sale of Pre-Columbian Art in Paris

Mexican authorities and high profile figures asked… begged Christie’s, the legendary auction house, to withdraw at least 30 pre-Columbian pieces from an auction. However, Christie’s ignored the requests (o sea, les valió) and walked away with $3 million. The National Institute for Anthropology and History had previously filed a complaint with the AG’s office in Mexico, arguing that most of the pieces are part of Mexico’s cultural patrimony. A representative for Christie’s replied that the art was “sold legitimately” and that there was no evidence provided for them being looted or obtained illicitly. Artnet News

Longer read:

💀 ‘The Death Market’: Oxygen Shortage Leaves Mexicans to Die at Home

Many Mexicans are fighting their Covid battles at home due to overflowing hospitals and their distrust of the country’s healthcare system. A tragic story of low supply and high demand has followed. Mexico can’t produce tanks and shipments from China won’t arrive for months. In January, demand for home oxygen rose 700%, causing tank prices to skyrocket to 10x what they go for in the US. This excellent NYT piece tells the stories of two oxygen tank dealers and countless relatives in CDMX whose searches for oxygen are plagued by endless phone calls, nervously waiting in long lines, and scammers preying on those in their most desperate state. Organized crime is also now involved, stealing tanks from delivery trucks and hospitals. Needless to say, some are questioning the decision by CDMX to wait on implementing its strictest lockdown measures in December, after passing official caseload limits. The New York Times

Films to watch

✡️️ Indie drama causes a stir in Mexico City’s Orthodox Jewish Community

28-year-old director Isaac Cherem grew up as part of the large Syrian Jewish Orthodox community in Mexico City and it wasn’t until he moved out of his parent’s house at 23 - rare for someone unmarried - when he finally traveled to other neighborhoods in the city and realized how big it really was. He said he felt “oppressed” by the community, which inspired him to shoot Leona, a film about Ariela, a 25-year-old Jewish woman whose love for a non-Jewish man threatens her relationship with her family and her place in the community. The film and trailer can be seen here. Review by: Jewis Telegraphic Agency

What else we’ve been reading:

How you can request Starlink, Elon Musk’s satellite internet, in Mexico [Entrepreneur]

Mexico could be added to the UK’s Covid-19 ‘red list’ [The Telegraph]

Argentina’s President will visit AMLO later this month [Bloomberg]

This resort chain in Mexico is offering stays for those who test positive for Covid-19 [Time Out]

Self-proclaimed businesswoman focused on reducing poverty and Shark Tank co-host, Patricia Armendáriz, caused a stir on Twitter last week. After announcing that her long-time assistant Alfredo Serratos died of Covid, she shared that what she learned from this experience was that people on “the bottom of the pyramid” have really low self-esteem. “He got sick and didn’t even ask me for anything”. She then deleted that tweet and declared that she too comes from the “bottom of the pyramid” and is proud of it.

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Ramplón: That lacks good taste, originality, elegance, distinction

Context: The president was criticising Reforma, a hardcore Anti-AMLO newspaper, for the 100th time