By Jon Dougherty
Days after POTUS Donald Trump’s administration came to an agreement with Mexico to begin stepping up efforts to interdict Central American migrants along its southern border, authorities have arrested nearly 800 most-Honduran migrants found on four trucks.
As reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, the Mexican National Migration Institute (INM) said in a statement late Saturday” that 791 foreign nationals were found in the trucks stopped in the eastern state of Veracruz, confirming earlier reports of mass arrests,” the site reported.
The operation was one of the biggest undertaken by the INM in recent months, the paper added, indicating that the Joint Declaration between the U.S. and Mexico for the latter to step up immigration enforcement in order to avoid the imposition of tariffs by the Trump administration is more than just a signed piece of paper.
The paper noted further:
The apprehension came as Mexico steps up efforts to reduce a surge of migrants toward the US border under pressure from US President Donald Trump.
Mr. Trump has threatened to slap Mexican goods with tariffs if Mexico does not stem illegal immigration.
Mexico made a deal on June 7 with the United States to avert the tariffs, setting the clock ticking on a 45-day period for the Mexican government to make palpable progress in reducing the numbers of people trying to cross the US border illegally.
There has been a jump in apprehensions at the US-Mexico border this year, angering Mr Trump, who has made reducing illegal immigration one of his signature policy pledges.
In addition to stepping up internal enforcement, the Mexican government also deployed a reported 6,000 National Guard troops along the country’s southern border with Guatemala, to head off migrant caravans before they crossed over.
Still, the new enforcement effort in Mexico is not coming without growing pains and tension. The head of the INM, Tonatiuh Guillen, resigned late last week in protest of the new enforcement policy, the Daily Mail reported.
According to NPR, the Mexican government is becoming inundated with asylum claims as well, much like the U.S. government, as migrants from Central American flood the country’s refugee commission.
“There are only 48 staff members in the entire country and the commission expects to receive 60,000 asylum claims this year, a number that may rise with further U.S.-Mexico negotiations,” the station reported.
Already this year, Mexico reports a 196-percent increase in asylum applications, according to figures released by the UN’s refugee agency, which said recently it wold fund new offices and staff for Mexico’s refugee commission and provide continuing operational support.
Likely not foreseeing the dramatic increase in asylum applications in Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador cut the refugee commission’s funding by $1.2 million this year, NPR reported.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials have said the president’s tariff threats did more to force the Mexican government to finally act to help combat illegal immigration through its own country than Congress has managed to accomplish in 20 years.
“President Trump’s detractors are trying to play down the significance of the US-Mexico immigration deal, saying it is largely comprised of actions that Mexico had already agreed to many months ago,” Marc Thiessen wrote in the New York Post.
“Nice try. If Mexico had truly agreed to implement many of these measures in December, then why had they not been implemented six months later? As even Mexican officials acknowledge, it was Trump’s threat of tariffs that forced Mexico’s hand.”
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
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