Mexico has doubled its detentions of migrants with a deployment of 10,000 troops to its southern border, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday, as Washington leans on regional governments to help slow arrivals at the U.S. border.
Reuters reported in March that Mexico had launched enforcement operations for rounding up immigrants transiting illegally toward the U.S. border, and stepped up its efforts along its border with Guatemala.
The operations include members of the National Guard, a militarized police force, along with soldiers and members of the navy and immigration officials. Mexico said on March 22 that it had close to 9,000 troops from the defense ministry, Navy and National Guard on its northern and southern borders.
A Mexican National Guard member deployed to the area said the force’s daily arrest rate had doubled in recent weeks.
In January, just before U.S. President Joe Biden took office, Guatemala deployed security forces to halt a U.S.-bound caravan of migrants, and Guatemalan government officials have vowed to keep up the pressure. Honduras also deployed forces in response to a small U.S.-bound migrant caravan over Easter.
Earlier, White House aide Tyler Moran said the Biden administration secured agreements with Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala to put more troops on their own borders. Moran appeared to have been referring to the March deployments.
The Guatemalan defense ministry said it did not have information on the matter. The Mexican and Honduran governments did not immediately respond to requests for comment.