Mexico has 10,000 troops in south to stem migration, White House says

WASHINGTON — Mexico has placed more security forces on its southern border as part of its efforts to stem the growing number of migrants from Central America crossing the country and reaching the United States, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday.

Mexico is maintaining a 10,000-troop deployment at its southern border, she said. That number is higher than Mexico had previously announced.

Reuters reported in March that Mexico had launched enforcement operations for rounding up immigrants transiting illegally toward the U.S. border, and stepped up its efforts along its border with Guatemala.

The operations include members of the National Guard, a militarized police force, along with soldiers and members of the navy and immigration officials. Mexico said on March 22 that it had 8,815 members of the National Guard on its northern and southern borders.

The beefed-up deployment to Mexico’s southern border has resulted in twice as many daily migrant interdictions, Psaki said. A Mexican National Guard member deployed to the area said the force’s daily arrest rate had doubled in recent weeks.

In January, just before U.S. President Joe Biden took office, Guatemala deployed security forces to halt a U.S.-bound caravan of migrants, and Guatemalan government officials have vowed to keep up the pressure. Honduras also deployed forces in response to a small U.S.-bound migrant caravan over Easter.

Earlier, White House aide Tyler Moran said the Biden administration secured agreements with Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala to put more troops on their own borders. Moran appeared to have been referring to the March deployments.

The Guatemalan defense ministry said it did not have information on the matter. The Mexican and Honduran governments did not immediately respond to requests for comment. (Reporting by Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick; Additional reporting by Laura Gottesdiener and Frank Jack Daniel in Mexico City, Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa and Sofia Menchu in Guatemala City; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Howard Goller)

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