By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF
Just hours after having been sworn in as Mexico’s 58th president on Saturday, Dec. 1, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) met with his counterparts from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras (all of whom attended his inauguration ceremony) to agree on a regional development plan intended to help stem the flow the migrants from those countries toward the United States.
In a press release issued by Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE), the four heads of state committed to working together to establish systematic rules of transit and border crossing that would not only respect the basic human rights of all migrants, but would ensure a more orderly processing procedure.
They also agreed that the intimate historical and cultural interrelationship between the four countries requires a cooperative approach to trying to reduce the growing mass migration northward.
As part of the new plan laid out between the leaders, a special fund will be established to help pay for development projects in underprivileged regions (although the press release did not say who would pay for that fund or how much it would be), thus reducing poverty and providing greater opportunities for Central Americans so that they are not forced to move away in search of employment.
The press release did not address the issue of violence and insecurity in the region that has also contributed to the migration.
In the last few months, more than 7,000 mostly Central American migrants have crossed into Mexico – sometimes by force – in caravans in order to reach the U.S. border, where they are currently awaiting asylum.
The vast majority of these migrants are now in Tijuana, Baja California, living in makeshift tents and shelters, where they may have to wait for months or even years, inside a city-owned sports complex designed to hold a maximum of 3,000 people.
The Mexican government is now preparing to open a second emergency shelter to house these Central American migrants.
According to United Nations workers in that border city, nearly one-third of the migrants are ill as a result of poor hygiene and exposure.
The mayor of Tijuana Juan Manuel Gastelum has declared the situation a humanitarian crisis.