Mexico Claims to Have Detained 74,000 Migrants, Deported 53,000 as Tariffs Loom

Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, right, accompanied by Mexican Ambassador Martha Barcena Coqui, speaks during a news conference at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, Monday, June 3, 2019, as part of a Mexican delegation in Washington for talks following trade tariff threats from the Trump Administration. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

President Donald Trump’s announcement last week that the United States would impose a tariff on all goods coming from Mexico unless the country helps stem the flow of hundreds of thousands of migrants trying to enter the United States has caused officials there to showcase their efforts to do just that.

The Mexican Foreign Relations Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, was in Washington, DC, on Monday and claimed his country had prevented more than a quarter of a million migrants from reaching the U.S. border.

The Mexico Daily News reported on Monday that Mexican officials assert they have detained 74,000 migrants since Dec. 1, 2018, and have deported 53,000 of those migrants back to their home countries.

But those numbers are small compared to figures from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that show almost 200,00 migrants were arrested in March and April after crossing the U.S. Mexico border between official ports of entry.

The Daily News reported CBP made a total of 191,808 arrests over those two months, and 21,055 people who tried to enter through ports of entry were deemed “inadmissible.”

The Daily News reported:

After taking office in December, the Mexican government initially adopted a permissive approach to dealing with the tens of thousands of migrants who flowed into the country via the porous southern border.

In January, the National Immigration Institute (INM) issued around 13,000 humanitarian visas to migrants, allowing them to work in Mexico and access services for a period of 12 months.

Immigration sources told Reuters in April that near-daily pressure from the United States government had resulted in the secretariats of the Interior and Foreign Affairs pushing the INM to adopt a tougher approach towards migrants.

But Bloomberg reported that Mexico’s government agency that is tasked with detaining undocumented migrants had its budget slashed in half compared to the same period last year as part of  President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s policy to cut government spending.

“The National Immigration Institute, known as INM, spent $16 million in the first quarter versus $38 million in the first three months of 2018, according to data from the Finance Ministry,” Bloomberg reported.

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