The head of Mexico’s immigration agency, Tonatiuh Guillén, tendered his resignation to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Friday, according to the Associated Press. It is unclear whether Guillén quit voluntarily or was asked to step down.
The move comes after Mexico agreed to take serious measures to halt migration from Central America to the United States, in response to President Trump’s threat of escalating tariffs if Mexico did comply.
Thus far, Mexico has committed to deploy some 6,000 National Guard troops to its southern border and frozen the bank accounts of 26 alleged human traffickers who were supporting or facilitating migrant caravans. According to Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, the Guard deployment will be ready to go on Tuesday, while 825 immigration agents and 200 welfare department officials will join the effort.
López Óbrador acknowledged earlier Friday that controls are lacking at dozens of migrant crossing points at the country’s southern border, and vowed to correct the situation.
“We have identified 68 crossings like that, and in all of them there will be oversight,” said López Óbrador during a morning news conference.
The president, who took office Dec. 1, attributed the problem to residual corruption at the National Migration Institute and the customs agency and noted that more than 500 immigration workers have been let go as part of a purge.
“We are cleaning house, but this work takes time,” López Obrador said. -AP
Mexico has taken steps over the past few months to step up enforcement in southern Mexico – seeing up highway checkpoints and more recently raiding a Central American migrant caravan to keep them from boarding the infamous northbound train known as “the beast.”
Trump to step up asylum returns
Also on Friday, a Mexican immigration official announced that the United States would be doubling the number of asylum seekers it sends back to Mexico from El Paso, Texas.
Luis Carlos Cano, a spokesman for Mexico’s national immigration agency in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, said starting Thursday some 200 asylum seekers per day were being sent back, up from 100 previously.
Under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump, Mexico agreed last week to expand the program, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, which forces mostly Central American asylum seekers arriving at the U.S. southern border to remain in Mexico to await the outcome of their U.S. asylum claims. -Reuters
The program, ‘Remain in Mexico’ has returned close to 12,000 people to Mexico since January.