Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Tuesday that Mexico would significantly improve the surveillance infrastructure at its southern border with Guatemala in order to reduce the flow of Central American migrants to the United States, a commitment that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) made to U.S. President Donald Trump to avoid increasing tariffs on Mexican products.
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"You go to the south and the first thing you ask yourself is ‘right, where’s the border?’ There’s nothing. The idea is to make the south like the north as far as possible,” Ebrad said and added that "We are going to try to organize a migration management system among different countries or the situation we are living now will be permanent."
To guarantee compliance with such commitment, the Mexican government created a "special commission" which will be led by the Foreign Minister and encompass a Labour Ministry undersecretary, a Welfare Ministry delegate, a Federal jail system high-level official and a military commander from the state of Chiapas.
Ebrard also said the AMLO administration will accelerate the deployment of 6,000 members of the National Guard, which is a militarized police force, along the southern border, where Central American immigrants would have to register themselves with the authorities.
"Mexico agreed to stop irregular migration with the National Guard and receive more migrants returned by the United States."
Last week, during the meeting held between Mexican and U.S. authorities in Washington, Vice President Mike Pence asked Mexico to accept being a "safe third country", that is, a territory where an asylum seeker may stay indefinitely before arriving in the host country. This option, however, was not accepted by the AMLO administration.
Although the details of the U.S.-Mexico agreement reached on June 7 have not been fully disclosed, the Mexican government would have pledged to demonstrate "greater efforts" in its containment tasks in the next 45 days.
If this does not happen, Washington will insist on its proposal that Mexico be a safe third country and the Mexican government would have to establish a regional plan to make such option viable.
This would imply, in turn, negotiations between the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the governments of Mexico, Guatemala and other Central American countries, as La Voz Hispana commented.
The Mexican foreign minister also acknowledged that the AMLO administration is mainly interested in preventing migration issues from damaging good business relations with the United States.
"Any day things can change but it is better an agreement of this nature to have nothing," he said and added that "our priority is that the free trade agreement be ratified."