Mexico Is Actually Clamping Down on Immigration Near Border With Central America, Despite Trump's Claims

Contrary to what President Donald Trump has tweeted in recent weeks, Mexico is actually clamping down on illegal immigration near its southern border with Central America.

As part of a strategy called the Southern Border Plan, implemented in 2014, Mexico has been deploying migration agents, soldiers, marines and local police to create a type of containment zone in the state of Chiapas, near the border with Guatemala, according to NPR. Thanks to U.S. support, the plan has deported more than 500,000 Central Americans since its inception—including nearly 82,000 people in 2017—based on data provided by Mexico's Interior Department.

Since 2015, Mexico has deported more Central Americans on a yearly basis than U.S. authorities have—and most of them do not travel past the Chiapas NPR noted. Despite the numbers, Trump tweeted on April 1: "Mexico is doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their Southern Border, and then into the U.S." He then added: "They laugh at our dumb immigration laws. They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA. NEED WALL!"

After the Southern Border Plan was released, some organizations had raised concerns over potential human rights violations. The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) wrote in 2015 that agents were using "violence to detain migrants," and that the government had failed to protect shelter workers who were offering help to those who came from the "Northern Triangle," a region comprised of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. WOLA collected information about rampant corruption inside Mexico's National Institute for Migration at the time, while the budget of the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance had only increased by 4 percent between 2014 and 2015.

A 2017 WOLA report also found that the Mexican government had been effectively detaining and deporting Central American immigrants, yet the country had done little to protect immigrants from crimes and abuses, including abduction and sexual assault.

Even though the U.S. has played a determining factor in Mexico's immigration crackdown, "U.S. support to address security at Mexico's southern border has amounted to less than originally expected," the same report indicated. Nevertheless, the U.S. State and Defense Departments are still supporting multimillion programs to help Mexican officials improve secure communications in the southern border area and help collect information on who is crossing.

In recent weeks, a caravan of Central Americans trekked across Mexico, and now hundreds of them are seeking asylum near the San Ysidro border crossing between Tijuana and San Diego. Prior to their arrival, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that they were sending asylum officers, attorneys and immigration judges to "ensure that all claims are adjudicated promptly," according to BuzzFeed News. However, only eight people were allowed to seek asylum on May 1, while the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that they had "reached capacity," a sign that reveals a backlog in the U.S. system, the news outlet reported.

Mexico Is Actually Clamping Down on Immigration Near Border With Central America, Despite Trump's Claims | World