Saturday, July 20, 2024

Mexico to send more National Guard troops to the southern border

With the expiration of the United States’ Title 42 migration policy approaching, Mexico has decided to send additional National Guard troops to its southern border.

The Title 42 rule, which for the past three years has allowed U.S. authorities to quickly expel asylum seekers as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, ends at 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

Migrants at the Mexico-US border
Migrants gathered at the U.S. border, mistakenly believing that the expiry of Title 42 will make it easier for them to enter the country. (Cuartoscuro)

Large numbers of migrants are in Mexican border cities and preparing to cross into the United States to seek asylum once the rule becomes inoperative.

The end of the pandemic-era policy is also expected to encourage more people to leave their countries of origin to travel to the Mexico-United States border, even as the U.S. attempts to dissuade such journeys by opening up new legal pathways for some migrants and preparing a new more restrictive migration rule that will take effect at midnight Friday.

“The rule presumes those who do not use lawful pathways to enter the United States are ineligible for asylum and allows the United States to remove individuals who do not establish a reasonable fear of persecution or torture in the country of removal,” the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday.

“Noncitizens can rebut this presumption based only on exceptionally compelling circumstances.”

Title 42 was designed to allow the U.S. to deport illegal migrants more quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the rule has been repealed, both Mexico and the U.S. are preparing for increased numbers of migrants attempting to enter the United States. (Omar Martínez/Cuartoscuro)

At his regular news conference on Thursday morning, President López Obrador was asked whether he had come to an agreement with U.S. President Joe Biden to send additional National Guard (GN) troops to the southern border to stem the northward flow of migrants.

“Not with him, we didn’t agree on that. We took the decision,” he responded.

López Obrador, who spoke with Biden on Tuesday, said there would be a “reinforcement” of the southern border but stressed that the GN members would be instructed to “not use force” against migrants. He said he was unsure of the size of the new deployment.

The Ministry of National Defense, which has had full control over the GN since 2022, said last month that over 25,000 troops were carrying out migration-related tasks on the southern and northern borders.

The government has used the National Guard to detain migrants since early in its six year term, which began in late 2018. The security force’s members have been involved in clashes with migrants and accused of using undue force.

López Obrador said Thursday that Mexico would cooperate with the United States to avoid chaos and violence on the northern border as Title 42 comes to an end. In the south of the country, the government is working to protect migrants, he said, adding that his administration has received information that there are a lot of polleros, or people smugglers, there.

funeral for migrants who were killed trying to cross into the US
In a desperate attempt to enter the U.S., some migrants turn to “polleros” — people traffickers. Unfortunately, many of those smuggled in are killed in the process. Here a village mourns the death of three young migrants, who were found dead in the back of a trailer, in Texas. (Yerania Rolón/Cuartoscuro)

The deployment of the additional GN troops could feasibly be aimed at combatting the smugglers, although the president didn’t disclose such a plan.

He did say that there are lot of “human traffickers who are offering to take migrants to the [northern] border for US $8,000 or $10,000.”

They tell migrants that “starting today, they can freely enter” the U.S., “but it’s a lie, it’s manipulation,” López Obrador said.

The president highlighted the risks migrants face traveling through the country, noting that they could be forced to endure stifling conditions in crowded tractor-trailers or involved in accidents caused by “improvised, irresponsible drivers.”

He also warned of the risk of migrants being kidnapped by organized crime groups and emphasized the need to address the root causes that force people to migrate.

“We’ve already spoken about this a lot, about the need to help people. … There is a lot of desperation among the people of Central America, Latin America and the Caribbean. There is a lot of poverty, a lot of abandonment, and something has to be done to attend to the causes [of migration]. A lot of desperation, a lot of poverty — that’s the cause of the migration phenomenon,” López Obrador said.

“… President Biden is a well-intentioned person, he is our friend, he’s doing his part under heavy pressure,” he added.

“… There is a conservative bloc … [in the United States], a lot of hawks, but President Biden already accepted … to increase the resources to support the people of Latin America and the Caribbean more.”

With reports from El Universal, Aristegui Noticias and El Financiero 

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