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Mexico Rounding Up, Deporting Migrants Hoping To Reach U.S. (VIDEO – Graphic Content)

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(PIJIJIAPAN, Mexico) — Mexican police and immigration agents detained hundreds of Central American migrants Monday in the largest single raid on a migrant caravan since the groups started moving through the country last year.

Police targeted isolated groups at the tail end of a caravan of about 3,000 migrants who were making their way through the southern state of Chiapas with hopes of reaching the U.S. border.

Mexico has deported about 15,000 migrants from Central America who’d been part of a caravan trying to reach the United States, Mexican officials said.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has changed his policy for migrant caravans, amid pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump. Migrant groups that used to be welcomed in Mexico are now being detained by police and sent back.

Mexico has stepped up migrant detentions since US President Donald Trump threatened last month to shut the US-Mexico border if the caravans weren’t stopped. Several organizations have condemned the rise in arrests, warning that detention facilities were overcrowded and the rights of migrants were being violated.

“[They are] mainly from Central America, but also from other countries,” Alejandro Encinas, Mexico’s interior secretary for humans rights, said Monday.

Mexican Interior Minister Olga Sanchez Cordero said the “mother of all caravans” was preparing to leave Honduras for Mexico late last month.

Mexican authorities raided one caravan Friday to check for legal migration documents. Officials said they deported many who didn’t have them. Mexican authorities this week set up a checkpoint south of Pijijiapan with buses and trucks to haul the migrants back across the nation’s southern border. Some migrants had armed themselves with sticks and stones to fight off the Mexican police, officials said.

Despite Mexico’s effort, officials say thousands more continue to flow into the country hoping to make it to the United States. U.S. Customers and Border Protection reported 92,000 unauthorized immigrants in March — the highest figure in 11 years.

In addition to the deported, Mexico said it’s also detained 3,200 migrants in shelters along its southern border with Guatemala.

Mexican police and immigration officials in the southern state of Chiapas on Monday rounded up hundreds of undocumented Central American migrants headed for the US border.

It’s one of the largest raids targeting a caravan since the exodus began last year, and comes as the US ramps up pressure on Mexico to curb the flow of migrants.

Mexico initially welcomed the caravans but public sympathy has waned in recent months. The arrival of tens of thousands of migrants seeking asylum at the US border has overwhelmed authorities and caused significant delays for Mexican residents trying to cross to the other side. Concentrations of hundreds of migrants in some Mexican towns have also led to tensions with locals.


Lisa Duncan

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