LatinNews Daily - 21 June 2023

MEXICO: Migrant numbers drop at US-Mexico border

On 20 June Mexico’s national guard (GN) announced it had intercepted 130 migrants travelling onboard passenger buses in Sonora state as part of a joint operation with the national migration institute (INM). 


The announcement from the GN and INM comes the same day as the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) released its May monthly operational report, in which it stated there had been a “significant reduction” in encounters with migrants on the border with Mexico since the lifting of Title 42 on 11 May. Authorities in the US and Mexico have attributed the unexpected fall in migrant numbers at the border following Title 42’s expiration to an expansion of legal migration pathways. However, incidents such as that in Sonora suggest that large numbers of migrants continue to pass through Mexico, and that the government led by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is acting to prevent them reaching the US border.

  • The GN and INM encountered the migrants on the road between Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora state, and the US border city of Nogales, Arizona. The migrants, who did not have valid documentation, were taken to INM facilities in Hermosillo, “to receive legal assistance while their legal situation is defined”.
  • This came as CBP announced yesterday that it had recorded 169,244 encounters with migrants between ports of entry along the US-Mexico border in May 2023, a decrease of 25% from May 2022. CBP said that more than half of these encounters (98,850) occurred prior to Title 42’s lifting on 11 May.
  • According to these figures, migrant encounters fell from a daily average of 8,986 between 1-11 May to 3,519 between 12-31 May. The CBP said this reduction was “a result of comprehensive planning and preparation efforts”.
  • Reports from the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times have indicated that migrants are being flown and bussed away from Mexico’s border with the US, reducing numbers at the border but causing build-ups elsewhere.
  • Yesterday, migrants in Mexico’s southern city of Tapachula, Chiapas state, marched to mark World Refugee Day – an international day designated by the United Nations – and to demand better treatment.

Looking Ahead: On 2 June, US-based rights lobby group Washington Office on Latin America (Wola) reported that preliminary data indicated that migrant numbers at the border were increasing again, suggesting the drop in numbers may well be a short-term phenomenon.

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