Mexico was expected to deploy roughly 15,000 National Guard troops to Tijuana area on Friday in an effort to prevent migrants and asylum seekers from entering the United States through San Diego County.
Mexican Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval Gonzalez announced Monday that the country would deploy its newly formed National Guard — composed of federal law enforcement and members of Mexico’s army and navy — along the full length of the U.S.-Mexico border from Tijuana to the state of Tamaulipas, which lies adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico and McAllen, Texas.
The Mexican government deployed federal troops to its southern border with Guatemala earlier this month, also an attempt to stem an unprecedented wave of migration by people fleeing violence and persecution in countries like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
The deployments comes amid pressure from President Donald Trump to slow immigration, legal or otherwise, to and through the border.
Earlier this month, Trump threatened to implement a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports until the country cracked down on immigration. The tariffs could have risen as high as 25% by Oct. 1, drawing consternation from U.S. business advocacy groups and members of Congress.
Trump relented from the threat days before the tariffs would have gone into effect, in part because Mexican officials reiterated their intent to deploy National Guard troops to the country’s northern and southern borders. The Mexican government first agreed to do so in March during secret negotiations with then-Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, according to a report by the New York Times.
Immigration shelters and advocacy groups in San Diego County have been overwhelmed for the better part of nine months assisting migrants and asylum seekers who are released into the county while they await a hearing for their asylum claims.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began flying detained asylum-seeking immigrants from Texas’ Rio Grande Valley to San Diego due to an immigration crush in the valley. According to DHS and Customs and Border Protection, federal immigration agents have detained an average of 4,500 immigrants in the area each day this year.
Shortly after DHS began flying detainees to San Diego for processing, a flu outbreak spread at a local migrant shelter in Bankers Hill, operated by Jewish Family Service of San Diego.
To date, county health officials have screened several thousand migrants and confirmed more than 230 cases of “influenza-like illness” at the shelter, where many migrants and asylum seekers end up while they await the next step in their immigration process.
— City News Service