The federal government has warned a caravan of Central American migrants traveling to the United States via Mexico that if they enter the country illegally they will be detained and deported.
In a joint statement, the secretariats of Foreign Affairs (SRE) and the Interior (Segob) said that in accordance with the law, anyone who enters Mexico “irregularly” will be “rescued” and subjected to review.
If they do not have the required documentation they will be returned to their own country.
The statement said the measure “responds not just to compliance with national legislation” but also to the government’s interest in avoiding migrants becoming “victims of human trafficking networks.”
More than 200 Federal Police officers arrived in Tapachula, Chiapas, yesterday to help the National Immigration Institute (INM) secure the southern border. The organization’s chief, Manelich Castilla, traveled to the border city earlier this week.
As many as 4,000 mainly Honduran migrants fleeing poverty and crime are planning to travel through Mexico to the United States, infuriating U.S. President Trump.
Many are traveling on foot, some with babies and small children, while others are in buses.
One Honduran whose legs had to be amputated after he fell from a Mexican freight train during an attempt to get to the United States in 2015 is trying again. This time a fellow migrant is pushing his wheelchair.
The caravan entered Guatemala Monday, overwhelming attempts by security forces to stop them, and some migrants began trying to cross into Mexico today, according to local media.
This morning, Trump threatened to deploy the military and close the United States’ southern border.
“I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught – and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!” the president wrote on Twitter.
“. . . The assault on our country at our Southern Border, including the Criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in, is far more important to me, as President, than Trade or the USMCA [trade agreement]. Hopefully Mexico will stop this onslaught at their Northern Border.”
Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete Prida today insisted that Mexico will not give in to U.S. pressure to stop the caravan on human rights grounds while senators called on the foreign affairs secretary to issue a strong response.
Senator Alfonso Durazo, who has also been nominated to head the new security secretariat, said he thought it improper for a head of state to threaten another country.
Marcelo Ebrard, the incoming government’s foreign secretary, suggested it was politically motivated.
“It was predictable, and it’s also very close to the [midterm] election. He’s making a political calculation,” he said.
Ebrard added that migrants arriving in Mexico without a visa would need to apply for refugee status.
During a visit to Tamaulipas yesterday, president-elect López Obrador said that once he takes office visas will be offered to Central Americans who want to work in Mexico.
“From December 1, we’re going to give employment to Central Americans. It’s a plan we have, he who wants to work in Mexico will have a work visa,” he said, adding that migration issues are not just solved by deporting people but also by giving them options.
The president-elect sent a letter to Trump in July in which he proposed that the migration problem be addressed “in a comprehensive manner through a development plan that includes Central American countries.”
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Mexico City tomorrow to meet with President Peña Nieto.