The United States isn’t the only country with border problems caused by endless migrant caravans from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Mexico is struggling to contain members of these caravans who are jumping their borders and ravaging southern Mexican border towns.
On Friday, Mexican authorities say more than 350 illegal immigrants from Guatemala and Honduras “broke the locks on a gate at the Guatemalan border Friday and forced their way into southern Mexico to join a larger group of migrants trying to make their way toward the United States,” according to KTLA.
Mexican authorities found the migrants to be “hostile” and “aggressive,” it seems, and law enforcement’s difficulties didn’t stop once the migrants had managed to breach the border fence. KTLA reports they attacked local police in border villages in their attempt to join up with a 2,000-person caravan headed, of course, for the United States-Mexican border.
President Donald Trump noted, just a week ago, that Mexican authorities have stepped up their interdiction efforts and are cooperating with United States’ demands to improve their own border patrol efforts, intercepting and turning back migrant caravans before they ever reach the U.S. border. Migrants joining up with the caravans now report increased difficulty in moving through Mexico, longer waits for papers and visas, and less help from residents of towns along the way.
Mexico, Reuters reports, has clamped down on issuing so-called “humanitarian visas” to caravan members, and Mexico, while denying reports that it has changed policy on the visas, says that it is now preserving such allowances for “priority” migrants only, including unaccompanied minors and the elderly. To all others, they are offering free rides back home.
The denials have caused a stir, and late last week, migrants attacked immigration authorities and broke windows on immigration buildings in Mapastepec, one of the first official caravan stops, where migrants typically expect to receive humanitarian visas.
Some migrants pledged to continue northward through Mexico even without the visas, leaving members of the caravans subject to deportation — something Mexican officials have also stepped up.
USA Today reports that Mexican authorities have already sent at least 204 immigrants back to Honduras, citing “irregularities” in their visa applications. The group was “from southeastern Mexican state of Veracruz to San Pedro Sula, Honduras.” From December of last year through February of this year, Mexico has deported 19,360 migrants — a lot, but not nearly enough to make a dent in the number of migrants making a beeline for the United States.
A senior White House official told Reuters that they expect the Mexican government to step up efforts even further, and that, currently, threats of trade disruptions are working to motivate Mexico to take a stronger hand on immigration. Mexico, it seems, wants desperately to avoid a border shutdown, which Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says is in “nobody’s interest.”
Meanwhile, at the United States southern border, the situation continues to be out of hand. Over the weekend, President Trump responded to allegations that his administration had considered bussing illegal immigrants from border patrol facilities into so-called “sanctuary cities,” implying that the policy is not off the table and that sanctuary city mayors should be prepared for a possible influx of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers.