Mexico Detained 79% More Migrants in April Amid Trump Threats

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico detained thousands more migrants in April than a year ago after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to close the border, representing a shift in focus for the nation’s leftist president away from granting humanitarian visas.

Under President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, 20,564 people were presented to immigration authorities in April compared with 11,486 in April 2018, an increase of 79%. January to April numbers showed detentions rose 17%, according to data from Mexico’s immigration institute.

The spike in apprehensions comes after Trump threatened to close the border and then on April 2 backed away from the threat, saying he was satisfied that Mexico was rounding up "large numbers of people at their southern border." While detentions in March had begun to rise slightly compared to a year earlier, by 8%, they grew far more significantly in April.

The detentions mark a shift for Lopez Obrador, who had campaigned on promises to aid migrants and stand up to Trump, and who had begun his tenure in December promising to substantially increase the number of humanitarian visas he’d grant. AMLO, as he’s known, has still kept to his policy of working with Trump to boost funds to improve Central American development as a way to prevent immigration. And the country is still granting humanitarian visas, but the approval process has become more rigorous.

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