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Exclusive: Mexico Plans Migration Crackdown as US Struggles With Record Arrivals: Sources

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Mexico is preparing to significantly step up efforts to prevent U.S. migrants from illegally crossing its border with Guatemala, in response to a jump of people trying to enter the United States, according to four people familiar with the matter. ito.

The U.S. government said this week it faces the highest number of migrants reaching its border with Mexico in 20 years, presenting authorities with a major challenge and raising concerns within the government. Mexico.

People familiar with the plan said Mexico would deploy security forces to reduce the flow of migrants, most of whom came from the so -called Northern Triangle of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, whose economy was hit by the coronavirus. pandemics and hurricanes. last year.

Two of the people said police militarized the National Guard, which led to efforts to bring down the number of illegal immigrants entering Mexico from Central America during the increase in 2019, will be ahead in container transport.

“Operations will be more frequent, more continuous and we will participate,” from next week, said a member of the National Guard, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Mexico’s support is crucial for U.S. President Joe Biden’s efforts to manage the number of people coming to the U.S. border, which hit a record for a month in February and is set to score higher. in March, apprehension figures were shown. Most of the people arrested at the US border were sent back to Mexico.

Mexico also needs US help in managing the pandemic. It’s hard to lobbying for Biden to release some vaccine stocks on COVID-19 to help shortages, saying it expects a response this week.

People did not provide details of the new migration plan, but similar operations in the past have focused on catching migrants in a narrow isthmus in the south of the country, instead trying to stop all crossing. on the Guatemalan border where remote and difficult terrain complicated efforts.

Migration authorities are already taking migrants without proper paperwork around the southern city of Tapachula near the border, a member of the National Guard said.

Ivan Porras, an academic studying immigration in Tapachula, said authorities are requesting papers from people crossing certain sections that are often independently controlled by the Equiate river that borders Guatemala.

Mexico’s National Migration Institute said it had no information on the matter. The National Guard of Mexico and the office of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador did not immediately respond.

When asked about the plan in Mexico, a U.S. State Department spokesman said the United States appreciates Mexico’s efforts to curb the flow and aims to continue close cooperation.

The spokesman declined to comment on specific operations and did not respond to a question on whether the White House requested such action or knew about it in advance. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After taking office in 2018, Lopez Obrador created the National Outpost to deal with internal security, but ended up deploying thousands of its troops to prevent the move under pressure from former U.S. president Donald Trump, a Republican.

Biden, has adopted a more humane approach to migration policy. But the influx of those who have come since he took office in January has tested U.S. authorities and drawn heavy criticism from Republicans.

A sense of ease was mounted within the Biden administration especially with the increasing number of unaccompanied minors arrested there.

In Washington, someone familiar with the matter said the U.S. administration saw a growing need for Mexico to do more to secure its southern border but refrain from making requests or direct requests. for action.

Biden’s aides want to avoid Trump’s heavy -handed approach to Mexico, preferring a more respectful tone, but bilateral discussions have touched on how to curb flows from the Northern Triangle, the source said on condition that anonymously.

Mexican officials expect a sharp rise in immigration under Biden, with one cautiously noted last month that it would force Mexico to “be a bad person again.”

(Reporting by Dave Graham and Diego Ore in Mexico City and Laura Gottesdiener in Monterrey; Additional reporting by Frank Jack Daniel and Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City and Matt Spetalnick and Ted Hesson in Washington; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Alistair Bell)

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