Mexico: new security force to Guatemalan border

The first mission of the new security force created by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will be blocking migrants on the Guatemalan border, evidently part of a deal struck with the Trump administration. Mexico has pledged to deploy up to 6,000 National Guard troops to its southern border in an effort to avoid Trump's threatened tariff on all exports to the United States, the Washington Post reports. The deal was announced as Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard is leading a Mexican delegation in talks with White House officials in Washington. Mexican officials said that 10 National Guard contingents of 450 to 600 troops each will be assigned to the border with Guatemala by September. The deployment would represent a fourfold increase on the 1,500 federal troops currently patrolling the border. A further three units will be deployed to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico, to set up roadblocks and checkpoints to stop the movement of migrants.

Both a Mexican and a US official told the Post that the two countries are negotiating a plan to overhaul asylum rules across the region. Under the plan, Central Americans would be required to seek asylum in the first country they reach after leaving their homeland, meaning that the United States could deport Guatemalans who enter the US to Mexico, and Hondurans and Salvadorans to Guatemala. Mexico has said repeatedly that it will not enter into such a "Safe Third Country" arrangement as the United States has had with Canada, but the unnamed Mexican official said the government is prepared to make changes in order to have a coordinated regional approach. Trump dropped his tariff threat immediately after the Mexican border mobilization was announced. (Mexico News Daily, June 6)