Lopez Obrador Proposes Border Force To Contain Illegal Immigration Into Mexico

Will Racke | Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter

Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is planning to create a specialized border force to combat illegal immigration across Mexico’s borders, according to his hand-picked security chief.

The new force is aimed at stanching the flow of illegal immigrants and contraband from Central America and will also be deployed to Mexico’s northern border, Alfonso Durazo said, according to Bloomberg. It is part of Lopez Obrador’s broader strategy against regional violence, corruption and poverty.

“We’re going to create a border police force that will be highly specialized,” Durazo, who is set to become Mexico’s public security minister when Lopez Obrador takes office in December, told Bloomberg in an interview.

“They need to apply the law” against illicit migration and human trafficking, he added.

A left-wing populist, Lopez Obrador won the presidency on July 1 on the strength of a campaign against the Mexican political establishment, which he blamed for Mexico’s seemingly intractable cartel violence and public corruption. Though he sparred with President Donald Trump over the U.S. government’s treatment of Mexican migrants, he has promised to contain illegal immigration in his own country by using a combination of tighter enforcement and humanitarian aid. (RELATED: Mexico’s Incoming Leftist President Could Upend US-Mexico Energy Relations)

In a meeting of Lopez Obrador’s security advisers on Friday, Durazo outlined several reforms aimed at easing Mexico’s spiraling drug violence. The Lopez Obrador administration intends to increase salaries and benefits for law enforcement officials to prevent corruption, and it will use financial intelligence to target the finances of drug trafficking organizations, he said.

More controversially, the administration is proposing an amnesty policy that would forgive crimes committed by low-level drug cartel members, who are often coerced into working for the organizations.

Durazo was optimistic about the reforms, which he called a “Mexican recipe for peace.” Still, Mexico’s deep-seated problems with corruption and violence are “not going to be resolved in a day,” Durazo said, according to The Associated Press.

Lopez Obrador will host Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for meetings in Mexico City on Friday. Immigration and border security are expected to be on the agenda.

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