Mexico meets migrants at southern border with armed forces

Larry Hoffman
June 9, 2019

Mexican authorities are moving to reinforce the southern border in an attempt to stem the tide of illegal immigration and have also taken steps against human trafficking, as Mexico attempts to ward off new tariffs from Washington.

United States media reported earlier this week that officials were discussing a plan to dispatch up to 6,000 troops to the southern border with Guatemala to contain the flow of Central American migrants in order to avoid escalating USA tariffs.

Soldiers and police forced hundreds of migrants in the group, which was mostly from Honduras, to stop in the southern town of Metapa de Dominguez, about 12 kilometres from the Mexican-Guatemalan border.

The decision from the appeals court on the "Return/Remain in Mexico" policy, a DHS-led initiative which sought to return immigrants to Mexico to wait during their respective USA immigration proceedings, comes after it was blocked by a lower court in April.

The Washington Post had reported earlier Thursday that Mexico pledged to send National Guard troops to the border.

It seems that threats from the United States have switched something on inside the Mexican government, and such measures could become more commonplace in the months to come.

Authorities then loaded the migrants aboard buses for the journey to the Tapachula facilities of the National Migration Institute (Inami) for processing.

Officials said that the pace of arrivals of undocumented migrants - 677,000 in the first eight months of the fiscal year - is the highest since 2006, when single men from Mexico were the main migrants, compared to families from Central America today.

The migrants say they aim to reach the USA border, where many plan to request asylum.

"But our posture is to preserve, above all, the friendship with the people of the United States", he said. Ebrard said the latest migrant report indicates his country must take action, or else face a five percent increase in tariffs.

Two activists from People Without Borders (Pueblo Sin Fronteras), which has helped organise migrant caravans, were arrested on allegations of offering migrants money to enter Mexico illegally.

Meanwhile, the factors driving migrants from Central America - hunger, climate change, unemployment, crime and violence - remain in place.

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