US envoy acknowledges painful journey of migrant caravan in Mexico

Mexico City, Nov 9 (EFE).- US Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar on Tuesday acknowledged “the painful road” of the migrant caravan that set out from the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas heading northwards, but he accused people traffickers of deceiving the travelers and profiting off of them.

“It’s a painful road, when the migrants enter the corridor, but the majority of them come to the corridor because they’ve been deceived by the traffickers, criminals and those organizations are the ones that are enriching themselves by millions of dollars,” he said at a press conference.

The diplomat was referring to the caravan of thousands of migrants who on Tuesday were advancing through the southern state of Oaxaca and announced their firm intention to get to the US border.

When questioned by reporters, the envoy sidestepped making a statement on the use of force by the Mexican National Guard to contain the migrant flow at Mexico’s southern border.

“We’re working to see how we can make reforms where migrants who are in the corridor can be protected and also to ensure that we can stop the (traffickers) who are the ones who are organizing and deceiving the migrants who enter the corridor,” he said.

The region is experiencing a record flow of migrants toward the US, where Customs and Border Protection intercepted more than 1.7 million undocumented foreigners on the border with Mexico during Fiscal Year 2021, which ended on Sept. 30.

In addition, Mexico detected more than 190,000 undocumented migrants between January and September, about three times the number for 2020, and deported almost 74,300, according to the Migration Policy Unit of the Government Secretariat.

Salazar said that there are people behind the caravan who “are doing it for the money, they’re not doing it for the benefit of the migrants.”

“The organizers portray themselves as if they’re doing something for human rights, when in reality what they’re doing is filling their pockets with money that comes from the traffickers and criminals,” he said.

Salazar, who assumed his duties in Mexico on Sept. 11, said that security and migration are being dealt with in the new Bicentennial Framework for Security that Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Oct. 9.

“What the United States and Mexico are doing under the Bicentennial Framework for Security is ensuring that we’re working together so that this doesn’t continue,” he said, referring to the people traffickers.

Even so, Washington’s envoy to Mexico refused to specify what kind of support, if it occurs, the US will provide to Mexico so that the social programs of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador can be expanded to Central America.

“We’re exploring that. We’re going to see (what we can do) later,” he said.

When asked about the security cooperation between Washington and Mexico City, which has delayed the issuance of visas for US Drug Enforcement Administration officials, Salazar attributed the delay to the fact that for five years “there was no dialogue,” a reference to the presidency of Donald Trump.

“We have much to work on with the government of Mexico,” he said.

EFE ppc/cpy/bp

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