Mexico Touts Progress In Controlling Migrants Trying To Reach U.S. Border

Sep 11, 2019
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Some other news now - a Mexican diplomat says a lot fewer migrants are getting through Mexico and reaching the U.S. border. He disclosed that to Vice President Pence 90 days after President Trump threatened new tariffs against Mexico. Here's NPR's Carrie Kahn.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: According to Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico's progress controlling irregular migration is great. He cited a 70% drop in the number of Central American migrants making it to the U.S. southern border.

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MARCELO EBRARD: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "What Mexico has done is giving results. It is working," Ebrard told journalists at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., after his midday meeting at the White House. In a statement, Vice President Mike Pence's office also praised Mexico's job but added both countries believe more work remains. According to U.S. figures, a little more than half as many migrants are being taken into custody compared to last May when more than 140,000 migrants a month were apprehended. Foreign Minister Ebrard says he recognizes the numbers remain high.

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EBRARD: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "But the tendency is irreversible," he says, "and it's something we think will be permanent." Not everyone is thrilled with Mexico's migration crackdown. Migrant advocates say Mexico is detaining and deporting tens of thousands without giving them their due process, and they question Mexico's preparedness to accept more than 40,000 U.S. asylum-seekers sent back across the border to wait out their court proceedings in dangerous Mexican border cities. Maureen Meyer of the Washington Office on Latin America says it's unclear how long Mexico can maintain this crackdown.

MAUREEN MEYER: While Mexico can be effective for several months in increasing apprehension numbers, it's not always sustainable, given the adaptability, particularly of criminal networks that are working to smuggle migrants to the border.

KAHN: For its part, Mexico says it has achieved its main objective - smoothing over the relationship with the U.S. and avoiding tariffs on its exports. Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Mexico City.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEQUERBOARD'S "PRINCE AUGUST") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.