“We have just heard that Mexican cities, in order to remove the illegal immigrants from their communities, are getting trucks and buses to bring them up to our country in areas where there is little border protection.“
The president here is referring to the arrival, in recent days, of some 1,600 Central American migrants to an area of the border opposite Eagle Pass, Texas. Many of those migrants traveled on a fleet of buses, furnished by Mexican officials and escorted by a convoy of heavily-armed federal police.
This isn’t the first time Mexican authorities have expedited the journey of Central American migrants by providing them with free transportation.
Trump here claims authorities are doing it to move the Central Americans through Mexican territory as quickly as possible, to avoid any possible backlash by local residents. He’s right that the large caravans have placed a strain on the cities they transit through, at times sparking protests.
But Mexican officials say they’re also protecting the migrants and facilitating their travel because they want to avoid something darker: a deadly attack by organized crime.
Thousands of Central Americans have gone missing in Mexico over the past decade, and in 2010 the Los Zetas cartel massacred 72 migrants at a ranch an hour south of the U.S. border. The killings had a terrible purpose: to make sure Central Americans travelers traveling to the border paid a fee to the cartels to pass through territory under their control. Or else.
The Mexican government said the risk of another attack of this sort remains high, because those traveling in caravans are defying the crime bosses by not paying those fees.