US notes advance in Mexican migration enforcement

MEXICO CITY (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged Sunday that Mexico has made progress on migration enforcement, while expressing hope that El Salvador can stem the tide of migrants north from that Central American country.

Pompeo spent the morning with Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo in Mexico City before flying to a meeting with El Salvador’s president.

Ebrard said in a statement that Pompeo noted “significant” advances in Mexico’s efforts to curb migration. Record numbers of migrants, especially Central Americans, have made their way through Mexico in recent months in an effort to start new lives in the U.S.

Given the advances, Ebrard said Mexico sees no need to negotiate a “safe third country” agreement with Washington that would require migrants to apply for asylum in Mexico rather than in the U.S.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement that the two top diplomats discussed their countries’ “shared efforts to stop illegal immigration.”

During the meeting, she said, Pompeo thanked Ebrard for Mexico’s “increased immigration enforcement efforts, which initial indications suggest is leading to reduced flows of illegal immigrants arriving at the U.S. southern border.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported a 28% drop last month in the number of migrants encountered by Customs and Border Protection at the U.S.-Mexico border compared to May.

Some attribute the decrease to increased enforcement in Mexico, combined with the country’s participation in a program that sends asylum seekers back into Mexico to await the outcome of their claims in the U.S.

The meeting between Pompeo and Ebrard came at the halfway point of a 90-day span during which Mexico has agreed to reduce migration across its territory toward the U.S. border as part of a deal that headed off stiff tariffs on Mexican goods threatened by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Since then, Mexican officials say they have increased migration enforcement along the southern and northern borders, while deporting hundreds of Central Americans each week by plane.