Mexico Increases its Immigration Efforts

Credit:Lucy Brown – loca4motion

(ESPAÑOL) President Trump singled out families from Central America heading to the United States as evidence that “Mexico is doing very little, if not nothing,” to stop immigration. But Mexico has actually assembled an aggressive enforcement strategy, with U.S. backing.

The strategy tightened up in 2014, shortly after American officials declared a crisis over the arrival of large numbers of Central American children at the U.S. border. The U.S. began funding Mexico’s immigration crackdown with the Southern Border Plan.

Rather than amassing troops on its border with Guatemala, Mexico stations migration agents, local and federal police, soldiers and marines to create a kind of containment zone in Chiapas state. With roving checkpoints and raids, Mexican migration agents have formed a formidable deportation force. Since the Southern Border Plan launched, Mexico has deported more than half a million Central Americans, including almost 82,000 last year, according to data from Mexico’s Interior Department. Since 2015, Mexico has deported more Central Americans annually than U.S. authorities have, in some years more than twice as many.

It’s such an effective force that even some government officials try to give migrants workarounds.

“We often tell migrants to travel at night,” says Ana Carolina Rodas, who runs the state government’s local migration assistance office in Ciudad Hidalgo, the small town that abuts the Guatemala border. “There are fewer migration officials or checkpoints at night, so it’s less likely they’ll be detained and deported.”

In recent years, nearly half of migrants detained in Mexico haven’t made it past southernmost Chiapas state.

A week after President Trump started tweeting about the Central American migrant caravan, Mexican officials addressed their southern border.

“We are going to be reinforcing [border] security with more gendarmerie [military police] troops that the Interior Ministry will be sending us,” said Chiapas state Gov. Manuel Velasco in a Facebook video.

Officials have not stated how many additional troops they’re sending nor how many troops are already operating here.

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