Mexico Sent Guard to South Border Before Migration Change

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico has deployed additional security forces to its southern border with Guatemala ahead of the expiration of a pandemic-era policy that facilitated the US expulsion of migrants to Mexico, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said.

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The US is expecting an increase in the number of people seeking to enter the country as the policy ends Thursday, despite enforcing measures to continue restricting border crossings, including by requiring migrants compete online for limited appointments or seek asylum in other countries first. AMLO, as the president is known, vowed to support US President Joe Biden’s efforts.

“We’re helping with everything, cooperating with the government of the United States, so that there’s no chaos and certainly no violence on the border,” he said at a press briefing Thursday. “People should not run the risk of crossing our country, especially because of the transportation, which is risky and inhumane.”

AMLO said the decision to send an unspecified number of National Guard personnel was Mexico’s, independently of the US. Mexico had maintained guardsmen along with immigration authorities in its southern states to aid in restricting the movement of undocumented migrants. In northern states, Mexico said previously it would continue to accept migrants returned from the US for “humanitarian reasons.”

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A spokesperson for the National Guard did not immediately respond to questions about the number of additional troops.

Immigration offices near the Guatemala border have in recent months seen a high number of people arriving from Venezuela, Ecuador and Haiti, many aiming eventually to reach the US. False information about the consequences of the sunsetting of the US’s policy, under a health measure known as Title 42, continued to be a concern for Mexico, as officials predicted it would lead more people to travel.

“There are many smugglers, more than the usual, who are offering to take people for $8,000 to $10,000 to the border, talking about the fact that they’ll from today be able to enter freely, and that’s a lie,” AMLO said.

(Update with details on US policy in second, Mexico policy in fourth, nationalities in sixth paragraph)

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