16 | SEP | 2019
Mexico deploys 15,000 troops on U.S. border to halt migration
Luis Cresencio Sandoval, the head of the Army, said soldiers were needed to back up migration officials in containment operations - Photo: Christian Torres/EL UNIVERSAL

Mexico deploys 15,000 troops on U.S. border to halt migration

25/06/2019
12:31
Reuters
Mexico City
Dave Graham
-A +A
Mexico on June 7 agreed to reduce significantly the number of migrants reaching the U.S.

Mexico has deployed almost 15,000 soldiers and National Guard in the north of the country to stem the flow of illegal immigration across the border into the United States, the head of the Mexican Army said on Monday.

Mexico has not traditionally used security forces to stop undocumented foreign citizens leaving the country for the United States, and photographs of militarized police catching Central American and Cuban women at the border in recent days have met with criticism.

Mexico is trying to curb a surge of migrants from third countries crossing its territory in order to reach the United States, under the threat of tariffs on its exports by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made tightening border security a priority.

Responding to weekend reports of heavy-handed interventions by the military, Luis Cresencio Sandoval, the head of the Army, said soldiers were needed to back up migration officials in containment operations.

Alongside 6,500 members of the security forces sent to Mexico’s southern border area with Guatemala, where many migrants enter, a larger contingent was in the north, he said.

“In the northern part of the country we have a total deployment of 14,000, almost 15,000 units between the National Guard and the Army,” Sandoval told a regular news conference.

“If we left it completely in the hands of the National Institute of Migration it wouldn’t be possible,” he added. “That’s why we’re providing support, it’s a strategy being pursued on both borders.”

A new militarized police force formed from soldiers, marines and federal police, the National Guard is at the heart of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s plan to restore order in a country convulsed by record levels of violence.

The force is still taking shape, and due to be headed by a retired general under the aegis of the security ministry.

Reuters images taken on Friday showed National Guard members detaining Cuban and Central American women trying to illegally cross from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico into El Paso, Texas.

Former Mexican national security official Gustavo Mohar said Mexico’s security forces had not been used this way before, describing the development as “sad.”

Mohar blamed the change on Trump’s threats to impose tariffs. The National Guard should ideally not be implementing migration policy, he argued, while acknowledging that Mexican migration authorities were overwhelmed.

Mexico on June 7 agreed to reduce significantly the number of migrants reaching the U.S. border within a period of 45 days.

If that fails, López Obrador’s government has said it will consider changing its laws to satisfy Trump’s demand that Mexico become a buffer zone to stop migrants entering the United States.

Most of the people caught on the U.S.-Mexico border are from three Central American countries suffering from high levels of gang violence and poverty: Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Trump has said he will impose initial tariffs of 5% on all Mexican goods if the migrant flow is not curbed. The tariff could eventually rise as high as 25%, he has said.
 

Artículo

Mexico’s National Guard seals off 23 municipalities along border with Guatemala

6,300 troops from the newly formed National Guard are aiding the National Migration Institute (INM)
Mexico’s National Guard seals off 23 municipalities along border with GuatemalaMexico’s National Guard seals off 23 municipalities along border with Guatemala

Mexican president says there may have been ‘excesses’ in migrant detentions

Mexican President López Obrador said on Tuesday the country’s new militarized National Guard police force could have committed “excesses” by detaining migrant women close to the U.S. border, and that they had not been instructed to do so.

Mexico has not traditionally used security forces to stop undocumented foreign citizens leaving the country for the United States.

López Obrador faced repeated questions at a news conference on Tuesday about photographs that emerged last week of the National Guard catching Central American and Cuban women in Ciudad Juárez, which border El Paso, Texas.

The photographs showed National Guard members, some armed with rifles, chasing female migrants and detaining them on the Mexican side of the border. López Obrador said they had not been instructed to carry out such detentions.

“There could have been these excesses, but the instruction for everybody is to respect the human rights of migrants, and that will continue,” he said.

Critics, including political allies of López Obrador, say Mexico is doing too much to placate U.S. President Trump, after an agreement to stave off a tariff threat that has led to a deployment of more than 20,000 National Guard and soldiers to contain a surge in migration from Central America and beyond.

The National Guard does have the legal right to detain migrants, López Obrador said, but he explained that it had been not instructed to do so at the northern border.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence praised Mexico on Tuesday for “keeping its promise” and sending 15,000 troops to border to help with crisis.

“Mexico continues to do more than Congressional Dems to secure our border, and its time for them to STEP UP!,” he said.

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