Mexico to Regulate Illegal Entries at Its Southern Border; Migrant Caravans ‘No Longer an Issue’: Top Security Official

Nation/World
Migrants kneel after crossing the Suchiate River from Tecun Uman in Guatemala to Ciudad Hidalgo in Mexico, where a security fence on the international bridge was reinforced to prevent them from passing through, on Oct. 29, 2018. (Credit: Johan Ordonez / AFP / Getty Images)

Migrants kneel after crossing the Suchiate River from Tecun Uman in Guatemala to Ciudad Hidalgo in Mexico, where a security fence on the international bridge was reinforced to prevent them from passing through, on Oct. 29, 2018. (Credit: Johan Ordonez / AFP / Getty Images)

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Mexico’s top security official said Wednesday the government will close off illegal entries at its southern border with Guatemala, but didn’t say how the country plans to do it.

Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero also said the migrant caravans that crossed the southern border in October “is no longer an issue.”

“Do you know why it is no longer an issue? Because in five days this administration solved the issue, five days,” she said, referring to the first week since President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office Dec. 1. “The United States was impressed.”

The new administration has mobilized material and equipment to improve conditions at the migrants’ shelter in the northern border city of Tijuana, but problems continue because the Central American there are frustrated by the slow pace at which U.S. officials are processing asylum requests.

Sanchez Cordero said Mexico will promote a “Christmas at Home” campaign to encourage many of the migrants to return to their home countries for the holidays.

Discussing the entry of migrants, she said the new administration will end the practice of undocumented or illegal crossings over the Suchiate River, which marks much of the border between Mexico and Guatemala.

“In the south there will be only one entry, on the bridge,” she said. “Anyone who wants to enter illegally, we are going to say: ‘Get in line and you can enter our country.'”

Sanchez Cordero offered no details on how that would be done, however.

In late October, Mexican authorities briefly tried to block a migrant caravan from crossing the river with ranks of police and military personnel, a helicopter and boats but the migrants crossed anyway.

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