Mexican Government Sends Armed Forces to Block Hundreds of Migrants At Border
Mexico's rigorous response comes following President Trump's tariff threats
Hundreds of migrants have been met with Mexican soldiers, armed police and migration officials as they crossed the border from Guatemala in a caravan into southern Mexico, according to reports.
Dozens of migrants were detained by police, according to one witness from a migrant aid group.
Mexico's rigorous response comes following President Donald Trump's recent threats of tariff hikes against the country if they failed to cooperate with efforts on curbing the flow of Central American migrants.
The response in the border town of Metapa, which included dozens of soldiers, marks the toughening of the government’s crackdown on migrants, said Salva Cruz, a coordinator with Fray Matias de Cordova.
“That many sailors and military police, yes, it’s new,” Cruz said.
The operation follows a meeting Mexican and U.S. officials at the White House to come to a deal to avoid tariff increases.
According to a statement from Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM), a group of about 300 people entered Mexico by a border bridge Wednesday morning, with a further 120 people as they walked to the city of Tapachula.
The migrants later agreed to be taken to the migration office to be processed, according to INM.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador responded on Tuesday by saying the country could be "prepared to reach out the deal."
White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney reaffirmed that Trump is "deadly serious" about levying a 5% tariff on Mexican goods if the Mexican government if they don't step up enforcement on the southern side of the border.
"The reason we're doing things people don't expect is that we're facing things at the border we never experienced before," Mulvaney added in a later appearance on NBC.
"We're using extraordinary tools because there are extraordinary circumstances that dictate those."
The 5% tariff goes into effect this week.
Has the tide turned?
In February, the Mexican Government transported 1700 Central American caravan migrants on 49 busses to an unsecured area of the US Southern Border in Texas.
Dozens of police vehicles reportedly helped to transport the caravaners from temporary refugee camps in Southern Mexico to help them "seek asylum" in the United States.