It’s Business as Usual at Mexico’s Southern Border Despite Trump Deal

Central American migrants get off a raft after crossing the Suchiate river from Tecun Uman, in Guatemala, to Ciudad Hidalgo, as seen from Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, June 8, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

On Saturday, at the busiest crossing point along Mexico’s porous southern border with Guatemala, evidence of Mexico’s promised crackdown on waves of new arrivals trying to reach the United States was nowhere to be seen.

Within sight of a bridge connecting Mexico to Guatemala, a fleet of about 16 rafts carried migrants hoping to escape poverty and gang-related violence in Central America.

A few police appeared briefly at dawn on the Mexican shore, people said, but they vanished as fast. Nothing else outwardly changed despite a deal struck in Washington on Friday in which Mexico vowed to stem the northern flow of migrants with a crackdown on illegal crossings across the Guatemala border.

The travelers, often exploited by cross-border guides called “coyotes” and security forces out to make a buck, said the business of illegal immigration was unaltered by the deal in Washington.

Over the past few months, Mexico has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of immigrants. In May, authorities detained nearly 23,000 migrants, triple the number in January and about twice the monthly average in the first five months of last year.

However, most of that activity has taken place further from the border between Chiapas state and Guatemala. On Friday, negotiators agreed to send up to 6,000 members of the National Guard security force into Chiapas after Trump’s calls for Mexico to secure the frontier.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that deployment would start on Monday. For now, the decades’ old business of ferrying people across the river to dodge usual passport controls has not been interrupted.

Another common practice that undermines Mexico’s efforts is corruption among low-paid police forces.

A military police officer observes traffic at an immigration checkpoint on a road in Tapachula, Mexico, June 8, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
A military police officer observes traffic at an immigration checkpoint on a road in Tapachula, Mexico, June 8, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

Seven Salvadorians and Hondurans who said they crossed the river by raft on Friday at dawn told Reuters that Chiapas state police officers had pulled them out of small public buses on their way to the Mexican border town of Tapachula where they were heading to seek papers.

“They took 100 Mexican pesos ($5) from me, 200 from him, about 1,000 altogether between us – and that other family,” said Jaime Mejia, 44, a Salvadoran pastor, squatting on a Tapachula sidewalk, nodding down the block at clutches of bedraggled men, women and children perched among bags and bundles.

The toll paid to the police, he said, left the group without money to pay for lodging. Chiapas security officials and Mexico’s interior ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mejia said he fled the town of La Libertad, El Salvador, after members of the country’s dominant gang, MS-13, told him to surrender his church to them to stash their weapons and drugs.

Asked about the immigration talks between the Trump and Lopez Obrador governments that could decide their fate, Mejia and more than 20 other migrants who spoke with Reuters on Friday and Saturday shrugged, shook their heads and looked blankly.

Friday’s deal averted a U.S.-Mexico tariff war, with Mexico also agreeing to expand asylum programs. President Donald Trump had threatened to impose 5% import tariffs on all Mexican goods starting on Monday if Mexico did not commit to do more to tighten its borders.

Tapachula, a first stop for many migrants on their journey north, was overflowing with migrants, from Central America, Cuba and elsewhere.

After the shakedown by police, Mejia and his group headed to the city’s office of the Mexican refugee agency to apply for asylum in Mexico. Each one was given a number to reappear days later for an interview, Mejia said.

But they found that the migration shelters -only three in town – were overflowing. With no money left, they had to bed down in the street.

Olga Sanchez, head of the Jesus El Buen Pastor migrant shelter, said she had been caring for about 700 people since about November. Among those at the shelter were about 200 children.

“In the past, having 100 was a huge amount,” said Sanchez. “We’re saturated.”

(Editing by Hugh Bronstein & Kim Coghill)


  1. Start shooting rubber bullets at them, sink the rafts!! WHATEVER the hell it takes!!!

  2. It will be business as usual until America gets serious, OUR military should be at the boarder turning the invaders back and the damned fools who make the laws must fix them, this bullshit of stepping onto our soil and never leaving is like a child’s game. HA, HA I’AM ON BASE, YOU CAN’T TAG ME!

  3. If this continues these people are going to bankrupt our once beautiful country, never mind counting on Mexico to prevent this influx of ILLEGALS we have to do something about it ourselves, we cannot fully take care of our own people look at all the Americans living on the streets in California, yet we will find the funds to house these crimminals, yes I said CRIMMINALS they are breaking into our country un-wanted, un-documented, bring all kinds of diseases, if it were any other country in the world in a lot of cases they would have been shot!!!!!!! Congress needs to act quickly and allow us to send these people right back from where they came. Remember folks 90% of them are going to end up on welfare, to all you working people out there better get a part time job as well so you can pay for these opportunists

  4. Mex is corrupt to the core!!!! Cheapgovt doesn’t take care of their own people, just their selfish selves. Not to b trusted !!!!

  5. Mexico will not do it’s promised duty on it’s southern border, the only thing that will work is $$$ angle and I mean tariffs on $$$ sent back to Mexico by illegal people. Also we should use tariffs on all goods that Mecico sends to USA

  6. Built a Tall Wall that is unable to be climbed!Do not feed or care for those that arrive. I cannot move to Ireland so the Central Americans should not be allowed in to the US. Democrats are dumber than DUMB!

  7. So now…Trump has control of the immigration problem through the Mexican government and is getting 6 Billions from the Pentagon budget through the New York fed. judge approval, while the IG report from Horowitz is about to come out and AG Barr has appointed Atty. Durham (a junk yard/bulldog all in one) to investigate Muller and the origin of the Russian Collusion a la Clintonese style! Nervous Nancy has to be tap dancing non-stop at this point! I doubt there is any medicine on the market yet to counter react her condition!

  8. This headline is ridiculous! Trump & Mexico make a deal and a few hours later bias news says nothing has changed. YHGTBKM!! I know Trump has a magic wand but get real folks! How in the world can anyone take Reuters seriously anymore?

  9. Mexico cannot be trusted . We need to send in 10 specialized teams to wipe out the entire cartel and all of the corrupt politicians military and police . Then and only then will this nonsense be stopped .

  10. My kids were vacationing in Tulum, Mexico and got shook down for $200 by corrupt cops on a fabricated speeding charge. Central America is a lost cause.

  11. Yes Mexico should have walls and such in place days after the deal was made and solve a long time problem of corruption also lol. What did you want them to do deploy troops and just start gunning people down and arresting the rest?

    1. Better than having them come into USA and bankrupting us

  12. The Banana Republics are glad to get rid of as many ‘burdens’ as possible while the rich and powerful are ensconced in their mansions with phalanxes of bodyguards while the Gang and cartel monies flow in.

  13. Wow. So a deal is announced on Friday, and Mexico is supposed to have everything in place to stop 100% of the border jumpers in less than 48 hours? IDIOT SMEAR TACTIC REPORTING

  14. You can’t say it’s business as usual if much of the agreement was scheduled to begin on Monday.
    The idea of sending illegal immigrants back across the border to await an answer on their request for asylum is long overdue.The immigration issue has been used as a political talking point but mostly overlooked until the Democrats escalated the issue as a way to use it as a weapon against Trump. The fact that at one time, leaders in the Democratic Party discussed the issue of security at our southern border that needed addressing and wanted more funding for a physical barrier, makes the deliberate escalation and manipulation of the crisis at the border a crime by the Democrats. This is not how a political party brings attention to an issue to change policy. This was a deliberate attempt at making an issue into a crisis to make Trump look bad.The integrity of our political system has been compromised by the Democrats and liberal political activist organization’s that funded the illegal caravans that crossed our border in order to place an already heavy burden on the resources of our border control system. We can’t allow this type of political manipulation to become a habit by those we ellect.

  15. 25% tax on all remittances to Mexico now 69 billion, dollars not spent in this country.

  16. I wish they would set up a GoFundMe for places like the shelters that must be in huge need of food and some bathroom staples. They have GFM for some really outrageous things, stupid selfish things. This would be something for a cause badly needed, And try hard to put yourself in the place of these people, running is a matter of life or death, it’s not just some little trip that they thought, geez would be great fun to walk till our feet are killing us, half-starved and Everyone upset if you are coming their way, Thoughts and Prayers don’t make a shit, they have never saved anyone yet, Some compassion, and some volunteer help in these areas would be what god would want you to do, if you believe in a god, and if not just a people with strong morals that can see how badly these people need help, keep in mind in some of the places our leader, gag, had them bomb the shit out of the places and turn their homes into rubble. Just spend 10 minutes and put yourself in the danger they face and see if maybe it would help you understand better and have some compassion.

  17. The problem isn’t just Mexico. Mexico and the US have to step up actions against the government’s where these people are originating from.

  18. The problem isn’t just Mexico. We’ve got to step up activity against those governments that these people are originating from.

  19. Do we have to be on Facebook to post a comment here?

  20. Massive change takes time. It’s only been a few days. will tell if the new measures will be effective. In the meantime, we need to rethink what kind of aide we could provide to reduce or eliminate incentives for illegal immigration.

  21. For crying out Loud! The ink isn’t even dry on the agreement, and already the media is trying to claim the agreement has failed! Anything they can grasp at to bash Trump, they will latch onto, no matter how obscure or stupid! It’s not like a light switch you imbeciles! You don’t just flip it and instantaneously you get light. Assets must be deployed, and even before that, a workable plan on how those assets are to be deployed, and what they will do once deployed must be formulated. That will take several days to complete, followed by a spooling up of resources, and the subsequent deployment. I wouldn’t expect to see real results for at least 2 weeks. Anyone who has a functioning brain, and is not seriously afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome would know this. Clearly the people who occupy the dank halls of the left wing media, either have no brain, or suffer from TDS, or both!

  22. I remember a movie entitled “The Year of Living Dangerously” and in one scene, one of the characters puts up a banner in a window. It says, Feed Your People”. Then the character jumps out of the window, killing himself. Although it was set in some Asian country–perhaps Thailand, it serves as a good example for today. Central America is a mess, and the corruption will never end.

    1. And the US giving them money will not help either. The leaders of these terrible countries take money given to them by the US that is suppose to be used for it’s citizens and put it in their pockets. The money the US gives them is never used for what it is suppose to.

  23. Another propaganda article from Reuters! These guys haven’t been able to solve their fake news problem in the last 10 years and expect the Mexican government to move 6,000 border patrols to their southern border overnight! As the saying goes…the brain is a terrible thing to waste!!

  24. Mexico has ninety [90] days before their economy is wrecked.

  25. The deal was just signed on Friday night. So in one day you expect military/BP to be on site immediately? Even America cannot do that.

    1. Mexico is one of the most corrupt governments on the planet; I hope this works.

  26. Who the hell really thinks Mexico will really do anything on their southern border? The mexcian government, past, present and future is corrupt. The military is corrupt. The police are corrupt. It’s a joke. Nothing will happen until Mexico cleans up its act, and they never will.

    1. We are going to left with only one choice-put our military with live ammunition on our southern boarder to stop the invasion. We have to vote out the politicians that refuse to protect our country.

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