The United States is reportedly sending dozens of Department of Homeland (DHS) security agents and investigators to Guatemala to help stem the flow of unauthorized migration from Central America to the U.S.
The Washington Post, citing anonymous U.S. officials with knowledge of the situation, reports DHS personnel will advise Guatemalan police and migration authorities on how to halt human smuggling. The intent of the effort, the Post reports, is to close heavily-traveled routes to the U.S. and discourage migrants from embarking on journeys to the U.S. through Mexico.
The reported plan has not been publicly disclosed, but DHS said in a statement Friday that acting secretary Kevin McAleenan finalized an agreement during a recent meeting with Guatemalan officials that included "a provision on law enforcement training to improve criminal investigations that disrupt human trafficking."
U.S. President Donald Trump threatened stiffer tariffs on Mexico on Thursday if it does not stop illegal migrants, mostly from Central America, from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. He also threatened to cut off aid to Central American countries.
Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Jesus Seade said Friday his country wants to combat the issue by using "traditional mechanisms and better exercise(ing) existing rules." Seade will attempt to resolve the dispute when he meets on Wednesday in Washington with a U.S. delegation headed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Caravans of migrants, mainly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador began coming to the U.S.-Mexican border in large numbers last fall. The U.S. says an average of 4,500 migrants arrive at the border each day, the largest migrant surge on the border in a decade. DHS says 109,000 migrants were arrested at the border in April.