The Mexican government says it’s deploying 6,000 Mexican National Guard troops to that country’s southern border in an effort to assist the United States in curbing the flow of migrants from Central America, through Mexico, to the United States’ southern border.
The move comes just days after the Mexican government and the Trump administration reached an agreement on the subject of immigration that involved Mexico committing more fully to interdiction and protecting its small border with Guatemala, according to Reuters and DW.com.
President Donald Trump tweeted about the agreement late last week.
“I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico. The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended,” the president said on social media.
“Mexico, in turn,” he continued, “has agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border. This is being done to greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States. Details of the agreement will be released shortly by the State Department. Thank you!”
Trump noted that the most difficult part of negotiations with the Mexican government was over Mexico’s border control. The United States asked Mexico to implement a plan to shut off or heavily police the country’s southern border with Guatemala, to head off thousand-person “migrant caravans” which amass in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, before they cross into Mexico and become difficult for Mexican authorities to handle.
Democrats tried to sour what was clearly a victory for the Trump administration by claiming that the Mexican government had already agreed to police Mexico’s southern border more aggressively, but despite discussions about the matter back in February — when Mexico voted to create the 60,000-strong National Guard — last week’s deal was the first time a specific troop commitment has been made with regard to border control.
Since February, however, Mexico has stepped up its immigration interdiction program, and authorities there say they’ve been more aggressive in assessing members of the so-called “migrant caravans,” identifying problem migrants, and deporting them back to Central America. Mexico has also been more aggressive in denying temporary visas to those looking to travel through the country to the United States to request asylum.
Instead, Mexico is offering temporary work visas to members of the migrant caravans and free rides back home.
The deal should help United States Customs and Border Protection, which has been cracking under the stress of handling more than 100,000 asylum seekers and captured illegal immigrants per month since the beginning of 2019. The agency says it is no longer able to hold so many migrants, let alone process them quickly and efficiently. As a result, CBP has turned into a massive baby-sitting service, providing food, shelter, and medical care to immigrants who could have been turned around much earlier.
There are still aspects of the overall immigration deal to be worked out, but talks are ongoing. The United States hopes to convince Mexico to become a temporary holding state so that CPB and Immigration and Customs Enforcement can deport Central Americans to Mexico rather than coordinating with less friendly countries, and the United States government has yet to fully take the threat of tariffs off the table.