14 May 2024, 10:47

Mexico's Lopez Obrador says migrant flow has halved

MEXICO CITY, May 14, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez
Obrador said Monday that the flow of migrants arriving at the border with the
United States had halved in recent months, from its peak in December.

"We had a crisis on the northern border in December of 12,000 migrants a day
and we made a joint effort and (numbers) reduced on average to 6,000, a
reduction of 50 percent in four months," the president told journalists.

Many thousands of migrants fleeing violence and poverty cross Mexico every
year heading for the US border.

On December 18 last year, 12,498 encounters between migrants and US border
agents were reported at the border, "the highest number recorded in 2023,"
according to a presentation by the Mexican government based on figures from
US Customs and Border Protection.

The rising numbers overwhelmed Mexican immigration facilities and shelters in
border cities, and put the government under increased pressure from the
United States to tackle the issue in an election year.

Since the end of December, the numbers have dropped back to around 6,000
migrants a day, and have remained steady ever since.

Lopez Obrador attributed this reduction to measures taken by Washington and
Mexico City to "create a legal channel" for migrants to enter the country,
such as digital applications for work visas.

The president said some 1,500 migrants were using these new mechanisms to
enter the United States every day.

In late April, Lopez Obrador and his US counterpart Joe Biden ordered their
teams to take "concrete measures" to reduce irregular border crossings,
according to a joint statement.

The leaders also "pledged to advance initiatives to address the root causes
of migration throughout the Western Hemisphere," including measures aimed at
economic and security progress, it said.

More than 2.4 million migrants crossed the southern US border in 2023. Most
of them were from Central America and Venezuela, fleeing poverty, violence
and disasters exacerbated by climate change.

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