Dean James at Right Wing Tribune
Mexico’s military police halted and turned back a caravan of up to 2,000 migrants from Africa, the Caribbean and Central America, hours after they attempted to head toward the United States in the latest action by their government to crack down on illegal immigration.
The migrants had departed before dawn from Tapachula in the southern state of Chiapas near Guatemala, Reuters reports.
The group, including people pushing children in strollers, proceeded on foot about 19 miles (30 km) before being apprehended on the road in Huehuetan in the afternoon.
Around 500 members of Mexico’s National Guard military police in helmets and tactical vests blocked the highway on both sides, according to a Reuters witness, and some pursued migrants who fled into neighboring fields.
Officials from Mexico’s national immigration institute detained most of the group, putting them on buses back to Tapachula. About 150 migrants decided to return on foot.
Jason Hopkins at The Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) reports that the chief of Customs and Border Protection touted the event as a sign that collaboration between the U.S. and Mexico is helping control the immigration crisis.
“Mexico’s enhanced border security efforts along their southern border continue to have a dramatic impact on this regional crisis. I just returned from Mexico where we had collaborative discussions on stemming the flow of illegal migration throughout the region,” Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, tweeted Sunday.
Mexico’s enhanced border security efforts along their southern border continue to have a dramatic impact on this regional crisis. I just returned from Mexico where we had collaborative discussions on stemming the flow of illegal migration throughout the region. https://t.co/6xE9FZE63r
— Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan (@CBPMarkMorgan) October 13, 2019
Tapachula, a town just north of the Mexico-Guatemala border, has served as the hub for thousands of migrants waiting to get transit visas in order to travel north to reach the U.S. border. However, under immense pressure from the Trump administration, the Mexican government has dramatically scaled back the number transit visas it issues out. Migrants in Tapachula have waited months for transit papers or residency from the Mexican government.
The blocked caravan is the latest move by the Mexican government to stop illegal immigration since it struck a deal with the Trump administration earlier this year. Faced with the threat of tariffs of its U.S. exports, Mexican officials agreed to a number of concessions with their American counterparts in June. As part of the agreement, Mexico has deployed thousands of its newly formed national guard troops on its border, and it has agreed to hold thousands of asylum seekers as they wait for their claims to be adjudicated in the U.S. immigration court system.
Immigrants hoping to enter the U.S. illegally still almost solely rely on passage through Mexico. During the first six months of 2019, for example, over half a million Central American migrants entered Mexico.
Arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border fell in September for the fourth month in a row, after record high crossings this Spring, and the Trump administration credited cooperation from Mexico and Central American countries for the sustained drop.
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Dean James at Right Wing Tribune