Mexico deployed almost 15,000 troops to its border with the United States, fulfilling its recent agreement with the Trump administration to help prevent illegal migration.
The Mexican government agreed to increase its enforcement at the border to prevent the U.S. government from imposing new tariffs on its products.
Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval announced the deployment of soldiers and National Guardsmen on Monday, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP),
During a press conference, Sandoval said, “We have a total deployment, between the National Guard and army units, of 14,000, almost 15,000 men in the north of the country.”
The Mexican Defense Minister also confirmed that the troops are arresting and detaining Central American migrants to prevent them from crossing into the United States.
Sandoval clarified that they are turning over the migrants to proper authorities [referring to the National Institute of Migration]. According to him, “Given that (undocumented) migration is not a crime but rather an administrative violation, we simply detain them and turn them over to the authorities.”
The Mexican government suffered a backlash over the migrant arrests and detentions the northern border. The criticisms were triggered by a photograph last week, which showed heavily armed National Guardsmen preventing women and a child from crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States.
In the past, Mexican forces were not arresting and detaining migrants at its northern border. Its policy changed due to pressure from the Trump administration.
Central American migrants are trying to escape poverty and gang violence in their home countries. They are taking the big risks of traveling without migration papers through Mexico to the United States to seek asylum.