(June 17, 2019) On June 7, 2019, the governments of the United States and Mexico announced they had reached an agreement to take measures to address the “dramatic increase in migrants moving from Central America through Mexico to the United States” in recent months. (Press Release, US Department of State, U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration (June 7, 2019), US Department of State website.)
According to the announcement, Mexico will pursue an “enforcement surge” to “curb irregular migration,” which will include deploying its National Guard to its border with Guatemala and dismantling trafficking and human smuggling organizations and their transportation and financial operations. (Id.) Mexico’s recently passed Law on the National Guard grants the guard broad law enforcement powers, including providing support to immigration authorities in the discharge of their duties. (Ley de la Guardia Nacional art. 9, DIARIO OFICIAL DE LA FEDERACIÓN (official gazette), May 27, 2019, Mexican House of Representatives website.)
In turn, the US government has committed itself to “immediately expand[ing] the implementation of the existing Migrant Protection Protocols across its entire Southern Border,” which means “those crossing the U.S. Southern Border to seek asylum will be rapidly returned to Mexico where they may await the adjudication of their asylum claims.” (U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration, supra.)
With regard to those asylum seekers returned to Mexico, Mexico agrees to “authorize the entrance of all of those individuals for humanitarian reasons, in compliance with its international obligations, while they await the adjudication of their asylum claims,” in addition to offering jobs, healthcare, and education (id.), while the United States agrees to “accelerate the adjudication of asylum claims and to conclude removal proceedings as expeditiously as possible” (id.; see also Press Release, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Migrant Protection Protocols (Jan. 24, 2019), DHS website).
According to the Joint Declaration, if these measures fail to achieve their purpose, both countries will adopt additional actions as necessary. (U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration, supra.)