Mexico Offers to Deploy 6,000 Troops to Guatemala Border to Stop Migration to U.S.

A group of Central American migrants is questioned about their childrens’ health after surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol Agents south of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in El Paso, Texas, March 6, 2019. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

As part of ongoing negotiations to avoid the tariffs President Trump threatened last week, Mexican officials have offered to deploy 6,000 national guard troops to their border with Guatemala to stem the flow of Central American migrants traveling through Mexico to the U.S.

The plan under consideration would also require that migrants seek refuge in the first country they arrive in after leaving home, according to the Washington Post. Guatemalan migrants, under the plan, would be required to seek refuge in Mexico while Salvadorans and Venezuelans would be required to remain in Guatemala.

Any migrant that does make it to the U.S. border would be deported to the closest country of refuge.

However, the Mexico delegation has reportedly made clear that the proposed concessions will not be implemented if the president moves forward with his threat to implement a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican goods entering the U.S.

The Trump administration also plans to tighten asylum rules to raise the standard for “credible fear,” which determines whether a migrant can remain in the U.S. while their claim is being adjudicated.

The White House has said that the tariffs, which Mexican officials claim will hurt their ability to step up enforcement, will take effect on Monday if Mexico fails to take action to stem the overwhelming tide of Central American asylum-seekers arriving at the U.S. border.

Mexican officials estimate that increased enforcement will reduce illegal-immigration levels to roughly 60,000 arrests per month, but the Trump administration has demanded a return to the rate that held in the opening months of the administration, which was roughly 20,000 arrests.

There were 144,000 arrests at the border in April, a 32 percent increase from the previous month and the highest recorded number of arrests in 13 years, according to border patrol.

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