Mexico conducted several raids last week to sweep up undocumented migrants, part of a broad crackdown against the surge of Central Americans and others streaming toward the U.S.,” the New York Times reports. In recent weeks, Mexican authorities have been breaking up migrant caravans and setting up round-the-clock roadblocks along common routes north. Detentions and deportations in Mexico are multiplying quickly, causing fear among the many thousands of Central Americans and others crowding migrant shelters and budget hotels in southern Mexico, most of them hoping to reach the U.S. border. “So scary,” said one Cuban migrant. “The fear never goes away.”
The Mexican government has been under intense pressure from President Trump to block the tens of thousands of undocumented migrants trudging north each month. With the U.S. unable to stop illegal immigration, Trump has taken aim at countries in the region — including Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the origins of most of the migration — threatening punishment unless they to do more. Last week, Trump stunned officials and business leaders on both sides of the border by promising tariffs on all Mexican imports unless Mexico stopped undocumented migrants from crossing into the U.S. In Washington on Monday, Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, warned that the tariffs would simply undermine Mexico’s existing efforts to control migration. “Tariffs could cause financial and economic instability,” weakening the Mexican government’s ability to solve the problem, Ebrard said. Mexican officials are holding talks with the Trump administration this week to defuse the situation, but they warned that Mexico could respond with retaliatory measures.