Mexico strengthens measures for intercepting migrants

With the use of giant X-ray, +200 migrants hiding in trucks have been found and are now in custody of the INM

Mexico strengthens measures for intercepting migrants
Still from video footage of migrants detected in a trailer by police X-ray equipment in Zacatecas, Mexico – Photo: Feature photography
English 09/07/2019 13:48 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Rebekah F. Ward, Rodolfo Pena Rojo, Lisa Shumaker & G. Crosse/REUTERS & Irma Mejía, Óscar Gutiérrez & Sandra Tovar/EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 13:56
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Mexican officials have captured more than 200 migrants hidden in trucks over the past two days, including 51, spotted by a large X-ray scanner, huddled in secret compartments, as the country steps up a crackdown under U.S. pressure.

Footage of the X-ray shows a ghost-like truck filled with the brightened silhouettes of the migrants – some sitting and others lying down – along with two levels of the crowded compartments on Sunday in an operation in Concepción del Oro, Zacatecas.

An additional 228 hidden migrants were found in a routine search of a soft drink transportation truck in the southern state of Chiapas on Monday, Mexico’s security ministry said in a statement.

The apprehensions come weeks after the appointment of hard-charging, former prisons chief Francisco Garduño as the new head of Mexico’s immigration authority, the National Migration Institute (INM).

Under Garduño, the agency has made a number of high-profile captures of migrants smuggled in commercial vehicles. The weekend Garduño took office, INM found 800 people in four trucks in the eastern state of Veracruz.

Mexico’s stepped-up efforts to stop record flows of mainly Guatemalans, Hondurans, Nicaraguans, Ecuadorians, and El Salvadorans reaching the United States follow a June 7th deal under which Mexico averted tariffs threatened by U.S. President Donald Trump with a promise to use security forces to intercept more undocumented migrants.

In another video of the X-ray-assisted detention released by Mexican authorities, an official approached the cargo vehicle at night to open the door to one of the crates. Sobs emerged from the otherwise-quiet container while he identified himself as a police officer and asked if migrants were in good health.

The migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Ecuador – 21 of whom were minors – received first aid and are now in the custody of the INM, the security ministry said late on Sunday, adding they will be returned to their home countries.

The truck, its driver, and MXN $225,000 in cash found in the vehicle are now in police custody and will be subject to investigation, the ministry added.
Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the attorney general has about 11 open investigations into migrant smugglers.

“It is our strategic objective to end the impunity for human traffickers,” Ebrard said at a news conference on Monday.

For their part, agents of the recently created National Guard (GN) and the INM apprehended 30 migrants from Central America in an inspection held in the train known as “The Beast” (La Bestia) in Chiapas. Last Saturday’s night, the agents stopped the train and searched through the wagons, finding the migrants. After confirmation of their lack of documents of regular stay in the country, they are now in custody and will be returned to their home countries. After the inspection concluded, “La Bestia” continued its way to Oaxaca.

In addition to this, there have been new cuts in the Reynosa Pharr International Bridge to the circulation of light vehicles, as well as the reduction of lanes in the bridges that connect with Hidalgo and Mission, Texas, which caused kilometric waiting lines in intersections with usually fast flow. These cuts are due to the menace of foreign migrants using this intersection to enter the United States without following the protocol of admission implemented by the Office of Customs and Frontier Protection (CBP).


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