Mexico's former foreign minister advocated Tuesday for "jamming up" the U.S. judicial system to block Mexican immigrants from being deported.
Jorge Castaneda, who served in the administration of former Mexican President Vicente Fox from 2000-03, told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that he disagrees with President Donald Trump's hardline stance on immigration and vowed to do all he could to stop Trump from deporting anyone who the U.S. "cannot prove is Mexican."
"I don't recall the United States letting people in who do not prove they are American. Well, I don't want the U.S. to deport anyone else to Mexico who the U.S. cannot prove is Mexican," Castaneda said.
The former Mexican former minister then revealed his plan for stopping the Trump administration from deporting more people: "I want to use, as much as possible, the U.S. judicial system, the court system — and in particular immigration courts and judges — to jam the system, to backlog it so much that perhaps President Trump will change his mind and stop this ridiculous, unpleasant, hostile policy of deporting people."
Castaneda called on his country's government to encourage immigrants being detained by U.S. immigration authorities to demand an immediate court hearing and to refuse to leave the country voluntary before or during their judicial proceedings. Castaneda further advocated for the Mexican government providing legal representation to detained immigrants.
Noting that half the Mexican population lives in poverty, Carlson then posed this question to Castaneda: "Rather than destroying our legal system, have you paused a minute to think, 'Well, why are all these people leaving my country to go to the country next door. Maybe we should spend some time and build a social safety net rather than offloading the cost onto the American middle class?' Has that occurred to you?"
Castaneda said he's thought about that but that he just doesn't agree with the idea. Castaneda argued the "real issue" is that Mexican immigrants who live in the U.S. and whose families are in the U.S. are hardworking and "law-abiding," aside from illegally crossing the border.
"There is no reason to deport them," Castaneda said. "You want to deport the criminals, fine, but make sure they're really criminals."
Carlson then returned to Castaneda's original argument in which he advocated for "jamming up" the U.S. judicial system.
"You want to spend all this money to gum up and sabotage our legal system," Carlson said. "Why wouldn't you spend money instead, and maybe you could pay some more in taxes to do this because rich people in Mexico, and you're one of them, pay very little in tax, to build a social safety net that might keep people in Mexico?"
Mexico's top tax bracket in 2016, which applied to anyone making more than 3 million Mexican pesos in that year (the equivalent of about $150,000), was 35 percent. By contrast, a single person living in the U.S. and making the same amount of money in a year would pay at least 40 percent in federal taxes, in addition to the applicable state and local taxes, according to NerdWallet.
Carlson argued that half the country's population is in poverty and thus fleeing to the U.S.
According to Reuters, 46.2 percent of all Mexican residents earned an amount that was considered at or below the poverty line in 2014. About 2 million more Mexican residents fell into poverty in the three years spanning 2012-14. This means that, of the nearly 120 million people living in Mexico, about 55.3 million were impoverished.
Carlson confronted Castaneda over the years-long uptick in Mexican immigrants to the U.S., attributing the rise to Mexico's high poverty rate.
"We're the pressure relief valve for your country. Do you feel good about that?" Carlson asked.
But the former Mexican official argued "that's where they live. That's where they work," referring to Mexican immigrants in the U.S.
"Because your country is dysfunctional! That's why." Carlson exclaimed.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan think tank based in Washington, D.C., the number of Mexican-born immigrants living in the U.S. was about 11.7 million. That number was up slightly from 2010, when there were approximately 11.5 million Mexican-born immigrants living in the U.S. In 2000, the number was significantly lower, at about 9.1 million. In 1980, the number of Mexican-born immigrants in the U.S. was 2.2 million.