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article imageMexico deports 33% more migrants after deal with US

By AFP     Jul 2, 2019 in World

Mexico deported 33 percent more foreigners month-on-month in June, officials said Tuesday, after the country agreed to take "unprecedented" steps to reduce migration in order to avoid tariffs threatened by US President Donald Trump.

The total number of deportations from Mexico in June was 21,912, up from 16,507 in May, according to preliminary figures from the Mexican migration authority.

The upswing came after Trump threatened in May to impose tariffs on all Mexican goods if the country did not do more to slow the flow of Central American migrants crossing the US-Mexican border.

After a week of tense negotiations, the two sides announced a deal on June 7 under which Mexico agreed to send thousands of National Guardsmen to secure its borders and expand its policy of taking back asylum-seekers while the US processes their claims.

The deal appears to be delivering Trump's desired result: the number of migrants taken into custody at the US southern border is expected to drop by 25 percent for June, the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan, said Friday.

Under the deal, Mexico has 45 days to show results.

Trump said Monday in Washington that Mexico is doing a "great job."

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has sought to avoid confrontation with the Republican billionaire, welcomed the comment.

"I'm glad President Trump recognizes that we're making an effort to live up to our commitment to apply our laws and, without violating human rights, reduce the flow of migrants," he told a news conference.

Lopez Obrador, an anti-establishment leftist, took office in December promising to welcome migrants. But he has taken a more hardline turn under pressure from Trump.

In his first month in office, Mexico deported 5,717 foreigners -- down from 10,180 the month before.

However, deportations rose sharply after Trump renewed his threat to close the US-Mexican border.

In April -- the month after Trump made the threat -- deportations from Mexico rose 66 percent, to 14,940.

The United States has seen a surge in Central American asylum-seekers fleeing chronic poverty and brutal gang violence in recent months. In May, it apprehended 144,000 migrants at the border, up 32 percent from April and 278 percent from May 2018.

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