The Biden administration announced Monday that they have struck a deal with the Mexican, Honduran and Guatemalan governments in order to increase border security and reduce the migratory surge into the US over recent months.
The tide of immigration at the southern US border has been dramatically increasing since President Joe Biden took office. In March alone, this sharp increase brought more than 19,000 children traveling alone across the border, the highest number ever, and more than 170,000 US Border Patrol encounters with migrants, the highest number since 2001. The changes in immigration rates into the US from its southern neighbors have been caused by a number of factors, including the transition away from the Trump administration’s immigration policy, hunger, natural disasters, and hopes that US border policy will continue to change for the better.
Since taking office, the Biden administration has rescinded the national emergency at the border with Mexico that the Trump administration implemented to justify the construction of the border wall, reinstated a policy allowing migrant children to reunite with their parents who are living legally in the US, and increased ways in which migrants can gain pathways to citizenship. These changes in policy have not been as smooth as the Biden administration had originally hoped for, in part because of the dramatic increase in migration, and they have received political and legal pushback from critics in DC as well as a number of southern US states.
In a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki noted that there had been a bilateral agreement with Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala, which have each pledged to increase the police and military presence on their borders and along common migratory routes:
Mexico made the decision to maintain 10,000 troops at its southern border, resulting in twice as many daily migrant interdictions. Guatemala surged 1,500 police and military personnel to its southern border with Honduras and agreed to set up 12 checkpoints along the migratory route. Honduras surged 7,000 police and military to disperse a large contingent of migrants.
In 2019, the Trump administration threatened the Mexican governments with tariffs on Mexican goods if migration rates did not fall, forcing the Mexican National Guard to be used to implement migration policy. In contrast, Psaki mentioned that these discussions have been ongoing between the Biden administration and Central American governments to come up with a cooperative plan to address the ongoing problem.