On Monday, the head of the Mexican army has announced the deployment of 15,000 of its’ soldiers and National Guard troops to the country’s northern border with the U.S. to help stem the unrelenting flow of illegal immigrants headed north.
The move follows an agreement made on June 7th between Mexico and the Trump administration and seeks to respond to almost 400,000 Central American and other migrants who illegally entered Mexico in the last three months with hopes of reaching the U.S.
President Donald Trump had previously threatened to impose a five percent tariff on all Mexican goods coming into the U.S. if the Mexican government didn’t do more stop U.S.-bound migrants coming from Central America. According to Trump, tariffs could eventually rise as high as 25, if meaningful action isn’t taken by Mexico.
The June 7th agreement gives Mexico 45 days to show results. If it fails to do so, tariffs could be back on the table.
“In the northern part of the country, we have deployed a total of almost 15,000 troops composed of national guard elements and military units,” Mexican Secretary of Defense Luis Cresencio Sandoval told journalists during a news conference on Monday.
Sandoval also said that his country had deployed 2,000 guardsmen to their southern border.
When asked whether his forces were detaining migrants to prevent them from crossing, the Secretary of Defense replied: “Yes. Given that (undocumented) migration is not a crime but rather an administrative violation, we simply detain them and turn them over” to immigration authorities.
Mexico’s new policy represents a shift from previous practices. While its’ security forces have always detained undocumented migrants if they’re discovered traveling in the country, never before has it hasn’t actively deployed troops to stop migrants from crossing the US border.
The Mexican government has also talked of plans to send home approximately 2,500 migrants per day.