Mexico Sends Troops to Its Southern Border

By Kausha Luna, October 19, 2016

The Mexican government has sent military forces to guard its southern border with Guatemala, amidst the arrival of thousands of U.S. bound Haitians and Africans illegal aliens.

Mexico's Ministry of National Defense (Sedna) and Navy (Semar) deployed troops to the Guatemala-Mexico border as part of the Regional Border Operation 2016. The operation is taking place between October 17 and November 17 and aims to combat smuggling networks, among other criminal activities.

The army and navy will assist at checkpoints and will patrol illegal and legal points of entry, shared by Mexico and Guatemala. Troops will be dispersed throughout the Mexican states of Chiapas and Tabasco, where illegal aliens, drugs, and firearms cross the border on a daily basis.

As a Mexican military commander explained, one of the goals of this operation is "to limit the activities of criminal organizations" on the border between Mexico and Guatemala. As my colleague Jessica Vaughan recently explained, the migrants making their way to the United States typically pay criminal organizations large sums of money to facilitate their transit through several safe countries to then claim a fear of return at the U.S.-Mexico border.

According to statistics from a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) the number of border asylum claims has multiplied 10 fold since 2009. The rise in the number of "credible fear" claims is not random, but follows a 2009 Obama executive directive implementing a "catch-and-release" policy. As a result of this memo, aliens are now paroled into the U.S. instead of being kept in custody while their asylum claims are fully reviewed, as required by law. In other words, U.S. immigration policies in the United States have created a pull factor, which criminal organizations exploit in order to feed their smuggling business.

Mexico's operation is taking place as the country experiences a wave of Haitian and African migrants headed for the United States. Reports have shown that Mexico's National Institute for Migration has granted as many as 14,800 transit permits (salvoconductos) to illegal aliens of all nationalities. Between January and August 2016 Mexico detained 116,312 illegal aliens — the majority in the states of Chiapas, Veracruz, and Tabasco.