Mexico militarizes its borders

Mexico is preventing migrants from crossing into the U.S. but will Trump threaten Mexico with tariffs again?

Mexico militarizes its borders
Elements from the National Guard stop migrants from crossing into the U.S. - Photo: Herika Martinez/AFP
English 25/06/2019 09:56 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 10:03

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If any migrant, especially from Central America, is able to dodge security controls in the southern border, robberies, kidnappings, abuses, and avoid criminal bands during their journey through Mexico, they still have to face thousands of soldiers at the Mexico-U.S. border.

Mexico is shutting down its borders in order to halt migration. Last week, it was revealed that over 6,000 elements from the National Guard were deployed among 23 municipalities in its southern border.

On Monday, the Defense Minister announced that 15,000 elements had been deployed to the northern border to carry out one task: prevent undocumented migrants from crossing into the United States.

These operations implemented by the Mexican government are the same mechanisms implemented by the U.S., which were criticized by Mexico: the deployment of military forces to halt the exodus of migrants fleeing poverty and extreme violence. Mexico portrays a strong, repressive, and rejection image; it no longer presents a friendly image.

For those who try to enter Mexico legally and carry out the paperwork, whether it is to stay in Mexico or to continue their journey to the U.S., the country doesn't offer an encouraging scenario.

According to the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), the migrant holding centers in southern Mexico are up to 400% overpopulated. For example, in Tenosique, in the state of Tabasco, the center can host 70 people yet there are over 250 living there.

Unfortunately, these circumstances benefit smugglers, who offer to transport the migrants to the U.S. for thousands of dollars while putting them at risk. A week ago, elements from the Federal Police and the National Migration Institute (INM) detained 791 undocumented migrants who were traveling inside a freight truck in Veracruz. A few days ago, in the same region, Zenaida, a 19-year-old woman from El Salvador, died after being shot while she was inside a vehicle along with other migrants; the causes behind the shooting are still unclear and neither are the official strategies to disband human trafficking bands.

Now that the government deployed the army in both borders, it is carrying out tasks that do not correspond to their mission and authorities justified the move by claiming that civilians could not control the migration phenomenon.

Mexico is focused on halting the migration flow at any cost, nevertheless, it is not guaranteed that the U.S. government won't threat Mexico with tariffs again. We will see.