US notes advance in Mexican migration enforcement
MEXICO CITY – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged during a meeting Sunday that Mexico has made significant progress on migration enforcement, Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said.
Ebrard said in a statement that due to these advances, 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.
Pompeo said via Twitter following the meeting that the top diplomats reaffirmed their countries’ shared democratic values and cultural ties.
“Mexico is one of our most important partners to increase prosperity and security for our countries and the region,” he wrote.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus elaborated in a separate tweet, saying the two top diplomats discussed their countries’ “shared efforts to stop illegal immigration.”
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,” Ortagus said.
Ortagus said they also discussed the new North American free trade agreement. The Mexican Senate approved the deal in June, but Democratic legislators in the U.S. have threatened to block it.
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, Mexico has stepped up immigration enforcement, while the United States has expanded to two more border points a program that sends asylum seekers back into Mexico to await the outcome of their claims.
Mexican officials say they have increased migration enforcement along the southern and northern borders, while deporting hundreds of Central Americans each week by plane.
On other matters, the foreign ministry said Ebrard suggested that the U.S. and Mexico work together to recover the assets of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, who was sentenced to life in prison in the U.S. last week.
A U.S. judge ordered Guzmán to pay $12.6 billion as part of his U.S. life sentence announced Wednesday.
Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador said Thursday that the money is Mexican and that he will seek its return to the country, through court action if necessary.
The foreign ministry said Ebrard also asked for help to stem the flow of weapons trafficked into Mexico from the U.S.
As the motorcade carrying Pompeo departed, a lawyer for Guzmán jumped in front of a vehicle with a hand-painted sign that read: “Chapo’s Money, No USA, Yes Mexico.” /gsg
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