Mexico Struggles to Balance Fighting Cartels, Curbing Immigration
A struggle for federal law enforcement in Mexico is brewing.
The U.S. is demanding Mexico do more to curb the flow of immigration, but this comes as the border state of Tamaulipas is asking for more federal resources to fight cartels.
On Monday, Acting Commissioner of CBP Mark Morgan credit Mexico for significant strides in reducing the flow of immigration into the U.S.
Morgan said Mexico has apprehended about 134,000 migrants this year so far, an increase from a total of 83,000 apprehended last year. He also acknowledged enhanced immigration enforcement resources.
"They've created a new national guard within their country: 10,000 troops to the southern border, 15,000 troops to the northern border with the United States."
Yet, Morgan stresses, "We need Mexico to do more."
Mexico's federal government complied with U.S. demands to curb immigration in an attempt to side-step tariffs.
They made some tough choices explains Tamaulipas Governor Francisco Cabeza de Vaca, "because the creation of the new National Guard in Mexico had its main purpose was to go after the organized crime, criminals."
The thousands of guardsmen dedicated to combat internal crime are now enforcing immigration law.
"They are the same military police, navy police, they just changed the uniform and they're doing that job as national guard."
The State of Tamaulipas is frequently engaging in battles with the cartel, especially in Nuevo Laredo.
Upon the U.S. recent demands, Mexico's federal government is again tempted to deviate law enforcement to immigration enforcement.
So far, Cabeza de Vaca says it doesn't look like Tamaulipas will get the help they need.
He says, "The problem that we have right now is that the Congress in Mexico just received the next budget for next year and what we see is that they didn't put any more money to recruit more members of the National Guard."
Congressman Henry Cuellar, who was was Governor Cabeza de Vaca in D.C. today, believes the U.S. could do more, too.
He says, "The U.S. is ready to provide funding to send those people on airplanes, help Mexico send them off somewhere else. If Mexico doesn't take that assistance, guess what's going to happen.
They're going to stay in Mexico. They're going to try to come into the U.S. and it becomes a problem for both countries."
He thinks Mexico doesn't want to accept out of a fear they may be perceived as doing the Trump Administration's job.
Both, Cuellar and Cabeza de Vaca say violence in Mexico continues to be fueled by the illicit money and high-powered weapons that flow into Mexico from the U.S.
Cuellar says they are looking for solutions.