Hundreds of Central Americans crossed the Guatemalan border into Mexico early yesterday, testing the Mexican government’s resolve to stem the movement of people north under pressure from the US.
Television footage showed a caravan of migrants moving towards the southern Mexican city of Tapachula, after crossing the Suchiate River that divides Mexico and Guatemala.
Most want to reach the US.
However, US President Donald Trump has put pressure on the Mexican government to adopt more restrictive measures to reduce the migrant flows.
Many of the Central Americans migrants heading north are fleeing economic hardship and violence at home.
The current group of migrants is the largest surge of people to test Mexico since its President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and some Central American governments, made various agreements with Trump to reduce pressure on the US southern border.
Trump has threatened to punish Mexico and Central American nations economically if they fail to address the migrant flows.
Migrants crossing into Mexico earlier this week faced tear gas from security forces, who delivered a firmer response than in previous mass crossings of the border.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said several hundred of the new arrivals were immediately deported.
Earlier Mexican migration authorities released an official count of the number of people detained along the country’s southern border two days before, estimating that more than 2,000 people were “rescued” after they crossed the border with Guatemala.
National Institute of Migration (INM) officials explained that among the detained were not only members of the so-called “2020 Caravan” that left Honduras about a week ago, but also many who had entered the country through other spots.
About 1,300 people were detained in Tabasco and another 800 in Chiapas, the INM said, including some minors.
On Wednesday, Mexico deported 460 Hondurans via official planes and buses from the two southern states, the ministry of the interior said.
Several hundred caravan members had tried to cross the Suchiate River at dawn on Monday from Tecun Uman in Guatemala, demanding migration authorities let them continue their journey to the US.
Meanwhile Guatemala’s Foreign Minister Pedro Brolo said the government will continue receiving Central American migrants under an asylum agreement with the US.
Before taking office this month Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei had pledged to review the contentious US immigration deal, which is designed to make migrants from Honduras and El Salvador seek asylum in Guatemala instead of the US. “We will continue receiving (migrants), which has really been very limited,” Brolo told reporters in Guatemala’s congress.
Brolo said his government was in the process of determining if other nationalities will be included in the US asylum deal, which the government of former president Jimmy Morales struck in July.
Brolo said a delegation from the US department of homeland security was due to visit Guatemala for further discussions on migration.
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