Mexico Announces Efforts to Curb Border Crisis
The Mexican government recently announced new efforts to cut the flow of migrants pushing through its extremely porous southern border on their way to the United States.
The goal of the initiative is to strengthen actions against crime and the exchange of intelligence with neighboring countries.
It will also improve migrant safe houses along Mexico's southern border, including spaces for unaccompanied minors.
But so far, observers say Mexico's plan amounts to little more than talk.
The Associated Press reports dozens of Central Americans who paid $1.50 a head were seen this week crossing the broad Suchiate River on rafts made of inner tubes and wooden boards, as Mexican police on the shore and immigration agents on a bridge observed.
And "La Bestia," a decrepit freight train that carries migrants north from the border state of Chiapas, still carried many passengers on its roof.
More than 57,000 unaccompanied Central American children have arrived in the United States since October.
Mexico's southern frontier is less than half the length of the U.S.-Mexico border, but its thick jungles make it difficult to police, particularly for a nation already struggling to tamp down organized crime violence and corruption.
Mexican politicians generally see little upside in cracking down on migrants who simply pass through on their way into the United States, just as so many Mexicans have done. They stay only a few days and don't affect schools or services.
What's more, migrant smuggling is a highly lucrative business that generates payoffs for local law enforcement to look the other way and lots of revenue for legal businesses.
"The tolerance exists because both governments know that people depend on it," Guatemalan truck driver Moises Moran said. "All of us who live here have done something illegal at some time ... I have."