Mexico’s Navy personnel and federal police try to control a migrant caravan. Photo: Google

By MARK LORENZANA

The deployment of federal forces in Mexico to contain the passage of migrants to the United States has increased by 294 percent in the 19 months since U.S. President Joe Biden began his term.

As of May of this year, a total number of 28,971 Mexican soldiers, sailors and elements of the National Guard (GN) were deployed at various points in the U.S.-Mexico border, 21,623 more than in January of last year. The deployment of federal forces has also increased steadily between January and July.

In addition, the number of migrants held in Mexico has also increased exponentially since Biden entered office. A report presented in June of this year at the National Palace during Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) daily morning press conference revealed that in 2021, 34,786 migrants were secured on the northern border of Mexico, which is 96 percent more than in 2019, when then-U.S. President Donald Trump launched his tariff threats.

The figures were even higher on the southern border of Mexico, which the country shares with neighboring Guatemala: Since the first year of the Biden presidency, 237,277 migrants were secured, which represents an increase of 272 percent, compared to 2019.

In July, the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) reported that López Obrador ordered a strengthening of migratory operations in the country. As a result, the number of migratory containment lines throughout Mexico was raised to five, and the number of detained migrants increased by almost 80 percent.

However, Tonatiuh Guillén, former head of the National Migration Institute (INM), criticized the move of AMLO, calling it “a militarized and ineffective anti-immigrant policy” that is “inconsistent with the promises of the Fourth Transformation” and that “it only benefits human traffickers.”

“In the end, there is actually no decrease in migration flows,” Guillén said. “And even worse is that now, Mexicans are also part of the irregular flow to the United States.”

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