The Mexican government has dispatched approximately 15,000 troops and National Guard officers to the U.S. border in a bid to check the flow of migration from Central America, the country’s defense chief told reporters Monday.
Mexico promised earlier this month to send 6,500 National Guard agents to its southern border, but Monday’s announcement was the first public acknowledgment of deployments to the U.S. border.
At a news conference in the Caribbean city of Cancun, Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval said Mexican forces were detaining migrants to prevent them from crossing the U.S. border. Mexican security forces previously have detained migrants traveling within Mexico but had not stopped them from crossing into the United States.
6,000 Mexican troops have been deployed to choke points on the border with Guatemala to thin out the number of migrants trying to reach the U.S.; William La Jeunesse reports from the scene.
“Given that migration is not a crime but rather an administrative violation, we simply detain them and turn them over to the authorities,” said Sandoval, as the AFP news agency reported.
Mexican officials also said Monday that the border city of Nuevo Laredo was expected to start receiving migrants returned from the United States as early as this week. Under the terms of an agreement between Washington and Mexico City to expand the so-called “remain in Mexico” program, asylum seekers are to wait on the Mexican side of the border while their claims make their way through U.S. courts. – READ MORE