Mexico's new president and interior minister are pledging to assign dozens of guards to the country's southern border to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing into Mexico's southern states from Honduras and Guatemala, the Associated Press reports.
The decision to station federal agents along the border comes on the heels of a separate effort on the part of Mexico's government to "seal" the country's border with Guatemala, preventing the so-called "migrant caravans" from crossing into Mexico on their way to the United States.
Now, Mexico is looking to enhance border security even further, stationing dozens of officers at more than 370 separate border crossings along its southern border to catch interlopers as they try to enter into the country illegally.
"The Mexican government has pledged to put guards at some 370 illegal crossing points along the country’s southern border with Guatemala," the Associated Press reports. "The crossings 'will be guarded and controlled to prevent the entry of undocumented people,' Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero said Monday."
Sanchez Cordero is also the Mexican official who ordered the border itself sealed. She wasn't able to give the media a timeline for Mexico's major border security rollout, but did say that the Mexican government is concerned that new migrant caravans might begin forming in Honduras and Guatemala near the end of January, and they want to head off any plans before they even take shape.
“We have information that a new caravan is forming to enter our country in mid-January,” she said. “We are already taking the necessary steps to ensure the caravan enters in a safe and orderly way."
“There are leaders in the caravan that are directing it, trying to burst into our country, but we will not allow any entry that is not orderly, safe and controlled by Mexican laws,” she added.
Mexico is also stepping up their border security efforts at legal border crossings, Sanchez Cordero told the Associated Press, adding more law enforcement officials to handle legal claims of asylum and immigrants applying for work or immigration visas.
It's no coincidence that Mexico is stepping up its border security efforts just as the Trump administration is working to step up the United States'.
Mexico's new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has pledged increased border control as part of his own effort to ingratiate himself to President Donald Trump. He feels that by taking an active role in policing his own borders, he can be in a better position to negotiate with the Trump administration over Mexican immigration into the southern United States, and to handle upcoming trade negotiations with Trump administration officials.
Meanwhile, in the United States, the Trump administration is still toiling away at negotiating with Democrats for basic funding to build the centerpiece of President Trump's signature border interdiction plan, the border wall. As the government shutdown drags on into its third week, Democrats in the House still refuse to provide even promised funds for the wall, limiting their commitment to a dollar, rather than the previously agreed-upon $1.6 billion (part of the overall Homeland Security budget), or the $5 billion the White House has requested.