Federal authorities detained 35 migrants and seven presumed people smugglers in Nuevo León on Monday, the second such incident in less than a week.
The National Guard and the National Immigration Institute (INM) said in a joint statement that its personnel “rescued” – a euphemism for detained – the migrants and arrested seven Mexican nationals on the Linares-Entronque San Roberto highway in the municipality of Galeana.
They also said that five vehicles in which the migrants were traveling were seized. The joint statement said that the migrants “presumably came from Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua” and were unable to show that they were in Mexico legally.
They were taken to a detention center where they were to receive consular assistance and have their legal situation assessed. The National Guard and INM indicated that the migrants would be deported if unable to prove that they entered the country legally.
The seven suspected smugglers were turned over to the federal Attorney General’s Office, which was to conduct an investigation.
The detention of the migrants and presumed smugglers came six days after 266 mainly Central American migrants were detected in three trucks traveling on the same highway in Galeana. Twenty unaccompanied minors – 19 boys and one girl – were among the migrants found traveling in crowded conditions.
In that incident, the INM said that the Guatemalan, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, Cuban, Honduran, Ecuadorian and Dominican nationals were taken to the Galeana municipal auditorium for assessment. The drivers of the trucks transporting them were arrested.
Some migrants attempting to reach the United States who enter southern Mexico illegally use the services of people smugglers, who often use trucks to transport them to the northern border. The consequences of that choice can be deadly for undocumented foreigners.
Fifty-six migrants were killed last December when a tractor-trailer transporting more than 150 mainly Central Americans overturned on the Chiapa de Corzo-Tuxtla Gutiérrez highway in Chiapas, while more than 53 migrants, including 27 Mexicans, died in June after being trapped in stifling conditions in a tractor-trailer found abandoned in San Antonio, Texas.
Migration was one of the issues discussed at Monday’s U.S-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue in Mexico City. In a joint statement issued after the talks, the two countries noted that their development agencies last December “launched a new collaborative framework called “Sowing Opportunities” (Sembrando Oportunidades) to increase technical cooperation and address the root causes of irregular migration in northern Central America.”
Still, United States Customs and Border Protection agents have completed over 1.8 million “enforcement actions” – apprehensions and expulsions – against migrants since the commencement of U.S. fiscal year (FY) 2022 last October. The figure, which doesn’t include data for August or September, is already about 10% higher than that for all of FY 2021 and 350% higher than that for FY 2020.
In Mexico, the refugee agency COMAR received a record high of over 131,000 asylum requests last year, more than 50,000 of which were filed by Haitians. However, the overburdened agency only resolved 38,054 applications last year, 72% of which were approved, the newspaper Milenio reported in July.