Mexican authorities increased immigration enforcement along well-traveled routes for migrants in southern Mexico over the weekend, checking identifications, pulling migrants off public transport and intercepting 4 trucks packed with nearly eight hundred migrants.
In the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, the National Migration Institute said 791 people were taken Saturday to a migration facility and that drivers of the tractor-trailer trucks transporting them were caught.
Migrants are routinely delivered through Mexico in packed semis, sometimes in harmful conditions without food or water or sufficient fresh air. Government video proved officials breaking the lock on the door of one cargo truck and helping migrants out.
Military police wearing National Guard armbands were also patrolling Sunday along the Suchiate River that separates Mexico from Guatemala. In prior days, migrants were seen being ferried across the river by raft without interference from immigration or other Mexican officials.
Outside Comitán on Sunday, some roadblocks and checkpoints were manned by several soldiers and police figuring out as National Guard.
At one checkpoint, immigration agent José Ángel Ramírez greeted warmly the help of the National Guard.
“We don’t have a way to stop so many and the traffickers pass everywhere,” said Ramírez, who was combined with a dozen National Guard officers.
Nearby, 5 Hondurans found traveling without papers were using a holding cell.
One of the Hondurans, a farmer named Armando who was traveling with a daughter and nephew, broke into tears while saying he’d be killed if returned to his country.
After a lot of time, the Hondurans were transported to a Mexican detention center for migrants.
The Mexican National Guard is a new security force created by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office Dec. 1. The security force is still taking shape and was originally proven with the goal of stemming endemic violence. Last year saw the highest number of murders in at least twenty years in Mexico.
Mexican soldiers have long been authorized to search vehicles for drugs or weapons, described one of the newly minted National Guard officers, who rejected to give his name. Now, he said, they can detain drivers or others suspected of helping the undocumented move through Mexico.
Luis Guillermo Lechuga, who sells vests near one of the checkpoints, was skeptical that the improved security presence reduces the flow of migrants through Comitán and surrounding areas.
“Everything will be the same,” said Lechuga, who expressed a variety of sympathy and annoyance with the travelers. “Nobody leaves their country without problems.”