In an ongoing effort to stem the flow of illegal immigration into the United States and avoid tariffs from the Trump administration, Mexico has deployed approximately 15,000 National Guardsmen and soldiers to the border, according to AFP, citing the country’s army chief.
Mexico promised earlier this month to send 6,000 National Guardsmen to its southern border, and has promised to build more migrant detention centers and checkpoints to catch and deter northbound Central Americans.
“We have a total deployment, between the National Guard and army units, of 14,000, almost 15,000 men in the north of the country,” announced Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval while standing alongside Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
When asked if troops were detaining migrants to prevent them from entering the US, Sandoval said “yes.”
“Given that (undocumented) migration is not a crime but rather an administrative violation, we simply detain them and turn them over to the authorities” at the country’s National Migration Institute.
The government has faced criticism over migrant detentions at the northern border since an AFP photographer documented last week how heavily armed National Guardsmen in Ciudad Juarez forcefully stopped two women and a young girl from crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States.
The policy is a shift from previous practice. The Mexican security forces had not typically detained migrants at the US border in the past.
Fleeing chronic poverty and brutal gang violence in their home countries, the Central Americans crossing Mexico mostly lack migration paper –AFP
Mexico signed a deal with the Trump administration on June 7, giving the country 45 days to show meaningful results in their efforts to counter the flood of migrants entering the United States.