Mexico claims that it has sent 15,000 members of its military and National Guard to its northern border in an effort to stem illegal immigration. Historically, Mexico has not used its security forces to stop foreign immigrants crossing the country to reach the United States. However, after facing the risk of sanctions from the Trump administration, the Mexican government is stepping up its efforts.
In recent days, pictures taken by Reuters have emerged showing Central American and Cuban women being detained. The photos offer evidence of Mexico’s changing stance on immigration.
The 15,000 troops being deployed in the north will complement the 6,500 U.S. troops being sent to the southern border. The armed forces have already been accused of rough handling, and some experts have warned that the National Guard is neither equipped nor trained to deal with immigration and border patrol.
Currently, most illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico into the United States are coming from one of three different Central American countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Mexico has just 45 days to show good progress towards cracking down on immigration before the Trump administration considers sanctions once again.
If Mexico does not reach the standards demanded by President Trump, the nation will face five-percent tariffs that could eventually rise to 25 percent. This would likely cripple Mexico’s export-oriented economy. President Trump has repeatedly made illegal immigration a cornerstone issue, and with the 2020 elections fast approaching, he’ll likely make it a centerpiece of his campaign to get re-elected.