Hundreds of Central American migrants who entered southern Mexico in recent days have either been pushed back into Guatemala by Mexican troops, shipped to detention centres or returned to Honduras, officials said on Tuesday.
An unknown number slipped past Mexican authorities and continued north.The latest migrant caravan provided a public platform for Mexico to show the US government and migrants thinking of making the trip that it has refined its strategy and produced its desired result - the caravan will not advance past its southern border.
"What can I say? It's damn tough to cross the border right now. I think it's better to return home," said Walter Martinez, a Honduran migrant, out of the window of a Guatemalan Police bus taking disillusioned migrants home.What remained unclear was the treatment of the migrants who already find themselves on their way back to the countries they fled last week.
The caravan of thousands had set out from Honduras in hopes Mexico would grant them passage, posing a fresh test of US President Donald Trump's effort to reduce the flow of migrants arriving at the US border by pressuring other governments to stop them.Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said 2,400 migrants entered Mexico legally over the weekend.
About a thousand of them requested Mexico's help in returning to their countries. The rest were being held in immigration centres while they start legal processes that would allow them to seek refuge in Mexico or obtain temporary work permits that would confine them to southern Mexico.
Mexico announced last June that it was deploying the newly formed National Guard to assist in immigration enforcement to avoid tariffs that Trump threatened on Mexican imports.