WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump, who is trying to stem the flow of mostly Central American migrants seeking to enter the United States from Mexico, said on Wednesday that Mexico may put more troops at the two countries’ border.
Speaking to reporters at the White House before leaving on a trip to West Virginia, Trump said the numbers of migrants apprehended at the border “are way down” because Mexico has sent troops to the frontier “and they mean business.”
“It’s also good for Mexico what they’re doing because the cartels have been running all of the border for years and years. And Mexico is saying, and the president is saying: We’ve got to clean it up. So they’ve got 21,000 soldiers and will probably put up more,” Trump said.
The Trump administration has sought to curtail the increasing numbers of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border after fleeing violence and poverty in countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Mexico said earlier this month that migrant apprehensions at the U.S. southern border fell 30% in June from the previous month after introducing controls as part of a deal with the United States to curb the flow of migration or face trade tariffs threatened by Trump.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Monday that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in weekend talks did not address a June deal under which the two countries would look at making asylum seekers apply for refuge in Mexico if migration flows were not significantly lower by July 22.
Ebrard said he told Pompeo in Mexico City on Sunday that Mexico’s view was that the proposal was unnecessary, after it helped reduce apprehensions at the U.S. southern border last month.
Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Tim Ahmann