UPDATED 6:48 AM PT — Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Mexico is planning to deploy thousands of troops to its southern border amid heightened pressure from the Trump administration to crack down on the Central American migrant crisis. According to Mexican officials Monday, the country has already sent over 400 military personnel to the town of Tapachula near its border with Guatemala this past week.
“Since Saturday 426 soldiers from the National Guard have arrived in Tapachula,” announced Maximilano Reyes, Mexican Undersecretary of State for Latin America and the Caribbean. “President Obrador and the Foreign Minister have said that 6,000 will be sent in total, but that does not mean that all 6,000 are going to disembark here.”
This comes after Mexico pledged earlier this month to ramp up its efforts to stop the flow of South American migrants traveling through Mexico and illegally crossing into the U.S.
While Mexico has agreed to dedicate 6,000 troops to halting its southern border crisis, not all of those personnel will be deployed along its southern region. Instead, some of those troops will be dispersed across parts of the country’s northern border in hopes of stopping the surge of Central American migrants attempting to cross illegally into the U.S.
According to reports, Guatemala is now the main source of illegal immigration to the United States with over 200,000 apprehensions made by border agents in the last eight-months.
In the past, Mexico has seemed unwilling to dedicate the resources needed to handle the migration crisis, and has allowed migrant caravans to march straight towards the U.S. border from Central America with little to no resistance. Since the signing of the U.S.-Mexico agreement, however, officials appear to be taking steps to address these issues by providing support to local immigration officials along the country’s southern border.
“What the National Guard will do is physically and logistically support these detentions,” Reyes explained. “As you all know, and as many have realized, we have found groups of 50 or 100 people against two, three or four immigration officials, so that doesn’t work.”
Mexico now has just over 30-days to make good on its promise to curb the illegal immigration crisis.