Mexico touts efforts to curb flow of migrants to US border

Mexico touts efforts to curb flow of migrants to US border

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes part in the inauguration of the government's new militarised National Guard police force in an effort to tackle a deteriorating security situation, at Campo Marte in Mexico City. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/File Photo)

MEXICO CITY: Mexico's president on Tuesday (Jul 2) thanked US President Donald Trump for saying Mexico was keeping its commitment to reduce the flow of US-bound migrants, as criticism mounted within the United States over conditions in the Trump administration's immigrant detention centres.

Under pressure from Washington to intensify Mexico's immigration enforcement efforts after apprehensions at the US border hit more than a 10-year high, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's government in June deployed thousands of militarised police across the country.

Migration flows from Central America have dropped sharply since then.

"I am grateful that even President Trump is making it known that Mexico is fulfilling its commitment and that there are no threats of tariffs," Lopez Obrador told reporters in Mexico City.

Under a Jun 7 agreement reached between the two countries, the United States gave Mexico until late July to show results on lowering migration towards the United States, or face renewed pressure over tariffs and further enforcement measures.

Speaking at the Group of 20 nations summit in Japan on Saturday, Trump praised Mexico for helping to ease the migrant crush at the border.

Trump has made clamping down on illegal immigration the centrepiece of his domestic policy agenda, railing against migrants, most of whom are Central Americans, crossing into the United States from Mexico and vowing to build a wall along vast portions of the southern border.

Conditions at US facilities holding migrants along the border have become a flashpoint since an internal US Department of Homeland Security watchdog warned of "dangerous overcrowding" at the El Paso facility in May.

Members of a congressional group visiting the main Border Patrol facility in El Paso and a facility in Clint, Texas, on Monday said migrants were being kept in deplorable conditions and, according to US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, told to drink out of toilets.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley praised the work of CBP agents on the border.

"I don't know what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is talking about," Gidley said in an interview with Fox Business Network.

"They're some of the bravest men and women on the planet. They put their lives in danger every single day. They provided three meals a day to people who are here illegally and unlawfully, two snacks in between," Gidley said.

The Border Patrol also came under fire on Monday following a report by the non-profit news site ProPublica detailing offensive content posted on a private Facebook group for current and former CBP officers that included jokes about the deaths of migrants and sexually explicit comments referencing Ocasio-Cortez.

Ocasio-Cortez, a first-term New York Democrat who was part of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus visit to the border on Monday, suggested in a Twitter post on Tuesday that the CBP was a "rogue agency."

CBP condemned the Facebook group and acknowledged that it may include a number of the agency's employees.

Source: Reuters/de