Mexican National Guard steps up presence at country’s northern border

– Mexico’s National
Guard first took up post along its southern border
with Guatemala back in June, after President Trump
threatened to levy new tariffs on trade unless Mexico
did more to deter migrants from Central America. Their presence eventually
expanded to Mexico’s border with the US, a move praised
by Border Patrol leaders like Carla Provost and Tucson
Sector Chief Roy Villareal. The Arizona Republic Rafael
Carranza has covered what that deployment looks like
in the state of Sonora. – There’s always been
trucks of soldiers, Mexican soldiers fully armed, with you know, their guns out, that have more or less
been patrolling, you know, the streets in certain
cities in Mexico for, you know, over a decade now since you know,
two Presidents ago. And what the change now
is that the people holding the guns now, the soldiers are
part of the National Guard. So they’re wearing a different
uniform they’re driving a different car with the
insignia of the National Guard, but they’re still doing
a lot of those duties. And certainly we’ve seen
them in Agua Prieta, we’ve seen them in Nogales and in a lot of the other
border cities here in Arizona. And certainly in the other
Mexican border cities as well. So their presence
is definitely there. And that has also, you know,
caused a lot of tension, not just with, you
know the population but also with a lot
of the nonprofits that work directly
with migrants too. – The numbers of the National
Guard members in Mexico who are on the Southern
Border and the Northern Border nearly eclipses the number
of Border Patrol agents here in the United States. In your reporting is
that evident that Mexico is taking this seriously
because of the threat of duties? – I mean, it seems that
that’s kind of the impression that, you know, that is
being given considering, you know, the massive
number of troops that are the National
Guard members that Mexico has deployed. And it seems that
they’re, you know, they’re taking it
seriously enough. I think that the question or
what we need to look out for is how sustained will this be, will those National Guard
troops remain there for, you know, a year, two years? Is that gonna be
a permanent thing or are they gonna be
starting to taper off now that we’re starting to
see quote and quote, results. And by that meaning,
you know, a decrease in the number of
apprehensions on the US side. And you know, US officials
are a little wary about, you know, those future
plans because they feel that if Mexico does
taper off their support, and they start withdrawing some of these
National Guard troops, then the number of
apprehensions could, you know, begin to rise again, maybe not to the historic levels that we saw earlier in the year, but you know, close
enough to you know, create some additional you know, hardships and
challenges for them. – So when the Department
of Homeland Security touts the decrease in numbers, it
may not be completely fair, look at the picture,
because many of these people are remaining in Mexico
instead of crossing and requesting asylum,
is that correct? – Well, I think once, you
know, in order to be sent back to Mexico, they already
have to be, you know, they already have to have
been in the United States. So they certainly
already made it there. But I think what remain in
Mexico is doing, you know, by sending these
individuals back to Mexico, instead of letting them
continue into the interior of the country, that
is, you know, creating, you know, it’s discouraging
people, you know, back in Central American
countries and Southern Mexico, from you know, attempting this. Because what I found in
my reporting is that, in many instances, the
reason or the way that many of these migrants reach
a particular border area is because they have relatives
or they know somebody who cross through there and
so it’s by word of mouth. And so now that, you know,
the word of mouth is that, you know, they’re not
letting us get through, they’re sending
us back to Mexico. The US government is hoping
that that’s going to contribute or that’s going to
help, you know, reduce the number of individuals who
take off in the first place.

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