Migrants released from detention
President forms team to implement immigration plan
Central American migrant families that were released from U.S. detention waited to board a bus Tuesday at a bus depot in Mcallen. In Mexico, officials said they have begun deployment of the country’s National Guard for immigration enforcement. As part of a deal with the U.S., the National Guard’s objective is to register migrants and to offer them options on their immigration status.
MEXICO CITY — Mexican officials said Tuesday they were beginning deployment of the country’s new National Guard for immigration enforcement, an accelerated commitment of a 6,000strong force made as part of an agreement with the United States to head off threatened U.S. tariffs on imports from Mexico.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard also announced that a team of five officials, including a general and a prison director, had been formed to implement the immigration plan.
Ebrard said that Gen. Vicente Antonio Hernández Sánchez, commander of the Tapachula military zone near the border with Guatemala, will begin a tour of the south “to speed up the deployment in the area.”
The main objective is to register migrants, offer them options for regularizing their immigration status and return those who don’t want to register, he added.
The Associated Press has not yet seen any National Guard deployment in Tapachula, where soldiers and federal police have been working to support immigration agents. At the Suchiate River that forms the border between the two countries, the usual crossings by small groups on rudimentary rafts continued
Ebrard did not mention detentions, which have risen notably in recent months, but said there is a need to expand and improve overcrowded immigration facilities that operate as de facto detention centers.
Another deployment is going to the frontier with the United States to attend to migrants who have been returned to Mexico while their asylum claims are processed in U.S. courts.
As part of the deal reached last Friday with Washington, Mexico agreed to an expansion of the program known as Migrant Protection Protocol, though the United States has run into its own logistical obstacles to ramping it up.
Mexico’s National Guard is a newly formed force tasked with policing rising insecurity. It is separate from the military and is legally supposed to be under civilian command, though it is largely made up of current or former soldiers and federal police.
Cuban migrants landed on the Mexican side of the Suchiate River on the border with Guatemala early Tuesday after crossing on a raft near Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico.
Mexican soldiers escorted officials in Tapachula, near the Guatemala border, on Tuesday.