Is the Deal Working? Mexico Steps Up Immigration Enforcement

The deal struck by President Trump with Mexico that avoided implementation of his threatened tariff–a deal that has been roundly criticized on the left and the right–may be bearing some fruit.

This weekend appeared to show an uptick in immigration law enforcement within Mexico and on her borders.

Armed soldiers wearing black armbands signifying the newly created Mexican National Guard were spotted checking identification and removing undocumented passengers at a checkpoint near Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, in Chiapas.  Elsewhere in Chiapas, National Guardsmen searched for migrants and smugglers among backroads in the darkness.

In the gulf coast state of Veracruz, 791 illegal migrants were removed from tractor-trailer trucks and the drivers arrested.

Outside Comitán in Chiapas on Sunday, National Guardsmen manned roadblocks, and illegal Honduran migrants could be seen in a nearby holding cell.

Also on Sunday, National Guardsmen were spotted patrolling along the Suchiate River, which forms Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala, an area that previously had been open to illegal border crossers.

Although these are for the most part merely anecdotal reports from individual reporters, they are welcome signs.  So far, however, they might indicate only a token effort on the part of the Mexican government to present a show of cooperation. The deal struck between the U.S. and Mexico  set into motion a 45-day clock, during which Mexico must show effective migrant control to avoid the tariff.

The use of the National Guard, which had recently been created for more domestic crime prevention, is an apparent indication of good faith.  Another such indication is a change at the top of Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM), the federal agency charged with controlling migration within the country.  On Friday, the director of that agency, a sociologist named Tonatiuh Guillen, resigned, and was replaced by the former head of Mexico’s prison system, Francisco Garduno. The INM  then announced that  1,000 immigration agents had been deployed in the north and south of Mexico and that by Tuesday, 6,000 National Guard troops would be patrolling the southern border with Guatemala.

We hope the Trump administration is verifying these moves and that they keep up the pressure. The clock is ticking.

For more, see ABC News.

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