Mexico moves migrants away from borders

MEXICO CITY — Mexico is flying migrants south away from the US border and busing new arrivals away from its boundary with Guatemala to relieve pressure on its border cities.

In the week since Washington dropped pandemic-era restrictions on seeking asylum at its border, US authorities report a dramatic drop in illegal crossing attempts. In Mexico, officials are generally trying to keep migrants south away from that border, a strategy that could reduce crossing temporarily, but experts say is not sustainable.

The US Department of Homeland Security reported Friday, May 19, 2023, that in the week since the policy change, Border Patrol averaged 4,000 encounters a day with people crossing between ports of entry. That was down dramatically from the more than 10,000 daily average immediately before.

Between the migrants who rushed to cross the border in the days before the US policy change and Mexico’s efforts to move others to the country’s interior, shelters in northern border cities currently find themselves below capacity.

Full shelters

In southern Mexico, however, shelters for migrants are full and the government is busing hundreds of migrants more than 200 miles north to relieve pressure in Tapachula near Guatemala. The government has also said it deployed hundreds of additional National Guard troops to the south last week.

Segismundo Doguín, Mexico’s top immigration official in the border state of Tamaulipas, across from Texas, said last week that the government would fly as many migrants away from border cities of Reynosa and Matamoros as necessary.

The transfers were “lateral movements to other parts of the country” where there were not so many migrants, Doguín said. He called them “voluntary humanitarian transfers.” (AP)