MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican authorities will meet with officials from Central America to prepare for the arrival of a planned new caravan of migrants to travel to the US next week.
FILE PHOTO: Migrants, part of a thousand caravans from Central America trying to reach the United States, voluntarily leave a temporary shelter to be closed by Mexican authorities for sanitary reasons, in Tijuana, Mexico, January 5, 2019 REUTERS / Jorge Duenes
Tonatiuh Guillen, head of the Mexican Immigration Department, left on Wednesday for a trip to El Salvador and Honduras to meet with his counterparts and other authorities, Interior Ministry spokesman Hector Gandini said.
Mexico hopes to prevent a mass escape from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and wants the Central Americans to move north to do so in an orderly fashion and through legal ports of entry.
"The doors to Mexico are open to anyone who wants to step in," Gandini said in a telephone interview with Reuters. "But anyone who wants to enter illegally will be deported."
Former caravans in Central America became a focal point in the debate over US immigration policy.
This was compounded by the recent deaths of two migrant children in US custody and the partial closure of the US government because of US President Donald Trump's demand for $ 5.7 billion for a wall on the Mexican border.
There are 12 legal entry ports for Central Americans at the southern border of Mexico, but the Mexican authorities have detected an additional 370 illegal entry points at this border, Interior Minister Olga Sanchez said this week.
Mexico is bordered on the south by Guatemala and Belize.
The illegal entry points are "monitored and controlled to prevent people from undocumented access to our territory," Sanchez said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Guatemala, Pablo Cesar Garcia, met with the Mexican authorities on Tuesday to discuss the caravan and "provide migrants with all necessary resources," said the spokeswoman for the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry, Marta Larra.
"They're killing us in Honduras," was a social media call in which people were supposed to gather next Tuesday in the Honduran town of San Pedro Sula to begin their long northward migration to the United States.
While other social media posts on January 20 invite people from the nearby city of Santa Barbara, the US authorities hoped to stop the Central Americans from traveling.
"The risks of illegal immigration are serious. Do not waste your time and money on a trip that is doomed to failure. The road is long and very dangerous. Unfortunately, thousands of Hondurans who participated in the caravan have come back, "said Heide Fulton, the US Secretary of Commerce to Honduras, on Twitter on Wednesday.
Reporting by Diego Ore; Other reports by Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa, Sofia Menchu in Guatemala City, Nelson Renteria in San Salvador and Lizbeth Diaz in Tijuana, Mexico; Letter from Anthony Esposito; Editing by Peter Cooney