The Mexican government has appointed a czar to oversee the mounting Central American immigration crisis that has taken over both Mexico and the United States, after feeling increased pressure from the U.S. to address the issue.
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According to the New York Times, Mexico’s Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong appointed Humberto Mayans, a senator from his Institutional Revolutionary Party. Mayans will take the role of head of the agency, and will work independently from the Interior Ministry.
According to Osorio Chong, the new system would “guarantee the safety of migrants as well as their eventual repatriation.”
Osorio Chong has called upon Mexico’s mayors and governors that are located along the migration route, and is asking them to cooperate with federal authorities, in hopes that the group effort will help stem the flow of immigrants through Mexico and into the U.S.
Lawmakers have urged not only Mexico, but other Central American countries to also step in and help stop the flow of undocumented immigrants into the neighboring countries.
The number of unaccompanied immigrants has reached what is now being called a humanitarian crisis, with numbers expected to reach well above 90,000 this year alone.
Holding facilities in south Texas are overcrowded, and cases are taking months to be heard in immigration court. Attempts to transfer detained immigrants to other less crowded facilities have been met with protests and backlash, and even the United States government seems divided over immigration reform.
While Mexico’s move to appoint a czar signals the beginning of their response to the crisis, Osorio’s announcement was lacking any concrete details and fell short of what was expected, according to the LA Times.
Osorio did not take questions from reporters.
In the past, Mexico has largely turned a blind eye to the thousands of Central American migrants who have crossed the country heading toward the U.S. border, and dangerous routes of transfer — such as the deadly “La Bestia” train — have been socially acceptable.
Mexico’s announcement came a day after American authorities began deporting Honduran mothers with children.
According to the Obama administration, the deportations will continue despite backlash.