Mexico Plans More Border Security with Focus on Migrant Minors

Mexico vowed to strengthen controls on its southern border amid an increase of migrants who travel through the Latin American country seeking to reach the U.S.

The Mexican government will boost personnel acting on the border with Guatemala, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Wednesday, declining to provide details. The administration wants to ensure the protection of minors and will have a full plan ready in a week, he said, following a meeting with officials from Mexico’s southern states of Chiapas, Tabasco and Campeche.

“We have to give security to migrants, take care of them, and part of that security is to order the migratory flow so that they don’t enter national territory without any protection,” Lopez Obrador said in his daily press briefing. “I don’t want to give numbers but we will work with more intensity.”

Lopez Obrador’s statement comes as the nation steps up raids and detentions of mostly Central American migrants fleeing economic devastation, violence and a growing hunger crisis after back-to-back hurricanes hit the region last year. Mexico is also working to open 17 temporary shelters for minors detained along the southern border, according to the country’s migration institute.

Mexico Plans More Border Security with Focus on Migrant Minors

Limiting immigrants who travel from Central America into the U.S. has been in recent years a sticking point in Mexico’s relationship with the White House. Earlier this month, the Biden administration said it had secured agreements with Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras to step up security along their borders, yet few precise details about that strategy were made public.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard previously said that there are at least 12,000 government personnel on Mexico’s southern border to attend to immigration issues, including members of the national guard.

In his comments on Wednesday, Lopez Obrador called for stricter punishments for smugglers who take advantage of people’s despair to lure them into seeking to enter the U.S. illegally. Migrants often face a dangerous journey north after entering Mexico, the president said.

In his comments on Wednesday, Lopez Obrador called for stricter punishments for smugglers who make a profit from moving people illicitly through Mexico. Migrants often face a dangerous journey north after entering the country, the president said.

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