The Mexican government deported 2,303 people between January 18 and 27, according to the country’s National Migration Institution (INM).
The deported people, which are predominantly Hondurans, arrived in Mexico in a caravan that began in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula on January 15.
Upon arrival in Mexico, some groups within the caravan agreed to be processed by Mexican authorities. However, when the Suchiate river bridge connecting Mexico and Guatemala was closed by Mexican authorities, many migrants were forced to enter irregularly.
Despite scenes captured on the ground showing violent repression of the asylum seekers, the Trump Administration has praised the efforts of Mexican security officials which have been mainly led by the National Guard.
“The efforts by the Mexican National Guard and other officials have thus far been effective at maintaining the integrity of their border, despite outbreaks of violence and lawlessness by people who are attempting to illegally enter Mexico on their way to the United States,” said acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.
“DHS is monitoring the caravan closely, we have dozens of personnel on the ground in Central America assisting local immigration and security officials, which have already led to hundreds of individuals being stopped, apprehended and sent back to their home countries,” he added.
Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, tweeted, “Appreciate the Government of Mexico’s commitment to enforcing safe, orderly and lawful migration. Mexico continues to be a true partner in addressing this regional crisis. I’m confident they will continue to stop, deny and impede the caravan.”
After beginning his administration with a policy that looked to welcome Central Americans, López Obrador quickly buckled under the threat of tariffs from U.S. President Donald Trump and hardened his immigration policy.
Under Trump’s “Migrant Protection Protocols,” commonly referred to as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, that came into force in January 2019, any asylum seeker that arrives at the U.S.-Mexico border is returned to Mexico to await the result of their immigration proceeding.
Since accepting the policy, Mexico has at various times sent thousands of members of the National Guard to its southern border and significantly reduced the number of arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border.
AMLO has come under fierce criticism for essentially turning Mexico into a “Safe Third Country” despite not having signed the type of deal that the U.S. has with Guatemala, that officially designates that country as so.
Under Guatemala’s deal with the U.S., also accepted under a Trump threat of tariffs, Guatemala agreed to allow the U.S. to send asylum seekers that arrive at the U.S. border to its territory to await the proceedings of their case if they had previously passed through Guatemala on their journey.
Trump has referred to previous caravans as an “invasion,” using them as political justification to increase security at the border and apply pressure on Central American governments to harden their positions on asylum seekers.