MEXICO CITY – The flow of migrants across Mexico’s border with the United States has dropped 39.3 percent since May, Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said on Tuesday.
“The migratory flow toward Mexico and the United States continues to be reduced. For the month about to be concluded, we estimate that we’ll have a figure of 87,648 people who reached the northern border, and in May it was 144,278 ... This marks a considerable reduction,” Ebrard said in a press conference at the National Palace.
The number of migrants reaching the border has fallen 39.3 percent, a figure that is higher than the 36.2 percent drop reported on July 22 following a meeting between Mexican officials and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Ebrard, Mexico’s top diplomat, also discussed the Comprehensive Development Plan for Central America, which is aimed at dealing with the causes of migration by providing resources and creating jobs in Honduras and El Salvador.
“We are the only country in the world that is creating a larger number of jobs than the people we are returning, in accordance with Mexican law, to their countries of origin,” the foreign relations secretary said.
Following the meeting last Saturday between President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his Honduran counterpart, Juan Orlando Hernandez, Ebrard said that 47 percent of the migrants arriving in Mexico were from Honduras.
“It looks like an exodus,” Ebrard said, adding that both Sembrando Vida, a program to fight deforestation in rural areas, and Jovenes Construyendo el Futuro, a job training and apprenticeship program, should be implemented in the Central American country.
The foreign relations secretary said the only Honduran migrant family reported kidnapped in Mexico had been set free, countering statements made by Honduran Ambassador to Mexico Alden Rivera, who alleged that hundreds of kidnapping cases had been registered.
“The only family has been released and we have no information about another family in this situation, but if the ambassador has it, we will very happily deal with it quickly and with promptness as in this case,” Ebrard said.
The foreign relations secretary said the Mexican government was trying to return Honduran migrants “as quickly as possible” to their country to “avoid violations of their human rights” that might occur in Mexico.
Ebrard, however, said that the speed of deportations depended on the Honduran Embassy, which is responsible for identifying its nationals and where they should be sent.
“The vast majority of these people have no identification. That’s why we depend on the embassy’s work, and we have even offered them offices across the country. Mexico’s position, it seems to me, is irreproachable,” the foreign relations secretary said.
Ebrard said an international conference of donor countries to the comprehensive development plan for Central America and southern Mexico was planned for October.
The foreign relations secretary said he was convinced that the development plan would show that actions can be taken to stop migration in the short-term.
Ebrard also said that the hoped the United States would make a commitment to participate actively in the development initiative and provide resources.
“This is a joint responsibility of the United States and Mexico, and Mexico is doing its part,” Ebrard said.
With Mexico committed to spending $100 million on Central America, the proportional US contribution should be $2 billion, opening the way for the creation of more than 1 million jobs in the region, Ebrard said.
The flow of Central American migrants through Mexico began increasing in October 2018, when caravans carrying thousands of people started making their way toward the United States.