The Obama administration praised a recent agreement between Mexico and Guatemala that could allow even more migrants to hop on so-called “death trains” to try to unlawfully enter the United States. In fact, the administration may even send Mexico foreign aid to help the country implement its “southern border initiative” with Guatemala.
At a Thursday Senate hearing on the unaccompanied children who are flooding across the border, Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon, the Counselor of the Department of State, told senators that Mexico’s “Southern border strategy” with Guatemala “was a welcome step towards improving Mexico’s ability to exercise greater control along its border with Guatemala and Belize.”
As part of that plan, Mexico will issue Regional Visitor permits and will reportedly “allow Guatemalans to enter the country without a passport and stay for up to three days in any of the 81 bordering municipalities located throughout the states of Chiapas, Tabasco and Quintana Roo.” Those permits can essentially be tickets to ride the death train, because 72 hours is plenty of time to ride the 1,000 miles to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Nearly 75% of all illegal immigrant children who have been entering the country have come from Central America. Most go through Guatemala to get to Mexico, where they get on board the so-called death trains. Some find their way to Mexico through Belize.
Migrants often hop on the death trains in Chiapas, which is where the announcement of the “southern border strategy” was actually made July 7. Speaking with Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto “said he will also be implementing the Border Worker Card program, with which Guatemalan citizens may obtain employment in Mexico” and announced “that similar agreements have been made with the governments of El Salvador and Honduras.”
“The campaign has the dual purpose of protecting and safeguarding the human rights of migrants entering and transiting through Mexico and increasing security of the region,” Peña Nieto said, according to a translation.
As part of the plan, “five border traffic control centers will be opened in order to efficiently monitor activity at the 12 existing border crossing points, 10 of which are located in Guatemala and two of which are in Belize,” and they will “provide adequate space for the care of unaccompanied migrant minors until they are able to be reunited with their families.”
The United States Embassy immediately applauded the agreement, and the Obama administration indicated it may send send Mexico more foreign aid.
Shannon, the Counselor of the Department of State, said Thursday that the “initiative is a manifestation of a new willingness to work together along [these states’] common border” and America is “working to provide support to Mexico’s southern border initiative,” potentially to the tune of $86 million in current funds to the program.
There have been at least 57,000 illegal immigrant children who have unlawfully entered the country since October of last year, and the federal government estimates at least 150,000 more will try next year. Critics of Obama’s immigration policy have accused Mexico of being complicit in the border crisis and insisted that the Mexican government must do more to prevent migrants from traveling thousands of miles across Mexico on obvious journeys to America.