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Mexico Steps Up Enforcement, Arrests Nearly 800 Illegal Immigrants In One Day

REUTERS/Jose Torres

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter

Mexico apprehended nearly 800 illegal migrants Saturday, an indication that their government is stepping up immigration enforcement amid pressure from President Donald Trump.

Mexican authorities nabbed 791 illegal migrants, according to the National Migration Institute, a department within the Mexican government that tracks and manages migration through the country. The foreign nationals were found among four different tractor-trailer trucks stopped in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.

The detainees were subsequently taken to a migration facility and the truck drivers were arrested.

The massive apprehension comes as the Trump administration puts increasing pressure on the Mexican government to do more to stop illegal migrants from reaching the U.S. southern border.

The White House and Mexico City reached a sweeping immigration deal on June 7. In return for the U.S. not imposing a 5% tariff on all of their goods, the Mexican government has pledged to adopt dramatic new measures to curb illegal immigration.

Among other things, Mexico is deploying up to 6,000 newly-formed National Guard troops to its southern border with Guatemala, a hot spot for northbound Central American migrants. Additionally, Mexico is allowing more U.S. asylum seekers to remain in Mexico, and is cracking down on human and drug smuggling operations.

A supplementary agreement made between Mexico and the U.S. states that, if the Trump administration is not satisfied with the progress within 45 days, Mexico will take on further measures to reduce illegal immigration, including the possibility of becoming a “safe third country” for asylum seekers.

(ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

Central American migrants -mostly Honduran- taking part in a caravan to the US, are pictured on board a truck heading to Irapuato in the state of Guanajuato on November 11, 2018 after spending the night in Queretaro in central Mexico. (ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

Since the joint declaration was reached, Mexico has made big efforts to stop unauthorized migrants.

The head of the National Migration Institute (NMI), Tonatiuh Guillen, resigned Friday. Guillen was immediately replaced by Francisco Garduno, who previously served as the chief of Mexico’s prison system. The NMI has since stated that 1,000 agents have been deployed to Mexico’s northern and southern borders. (RELATED: Mexico Selling Presidential Plane To Help Fund Trump’s Immigration Deal)

The department plans to have 6,000 National Guard troops stationed on the Guatemalan border by Tuesday. The Mexican Navy has already been deployed at the Guatemala border’s Suchiate River, stopping illegal migrants who appear by raft, according to Reforma, a Mexican news outlet.

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