Mexican official claims gains in U.S. border enforcement

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A senior Mexican official sought Monday to portray the U.S.-Mexico agreement to reduce northward Central American migration as an overnight success, asserting that border crossings had fallen by nearly half a mere 10 days after the countries issued a joint declaration.

But U.S. Customs and Border Protection didn’t immediately confirm that figure, and a Mexican press aide later conceded that the official may have been talking about one single-day drop.

The Mexican official, who briefed reporters in Washington, said U.S. Border Patrol arrested 2,600 people per day after the agreement was struck on June 7. That would be a steep drop from the daily average of 4,300 border arrests in May.

“We have information … that the numbers of people arriving to the southern border of the U.S. are diminishing,” the official said at the news conference. “One example is, they were arriving around 4,500 to the southern border of the U.S. … three weeks ago … And now there are around 2,600.”

Although the official’s phrasing was somewhat imprecise, a press spokesperson later confirmed that the 2,600 figure represented daily arrests. But the senior Mexican official stressed that the numbers might not indicate a long-term reversal of a surge of migrants leaving Central America in recent months.

“It’s very difficult to give an example of a day as a trend,” the Mexican official said.

President Donald Trump’s threat last month to impose tariffs on Mexican goods if the country didn’t step up immigration enforcement led to intense negotiations between officials from both countries.

In a June 7 joint declaration, the Mexican government vowed to deploy 6,000 members of its newly formed National Guard to stem the flow of migrants through its territory. The U.S. said it would expand the unilateral implementation of its “remain in Mexico” program, which forces certain non-Mexican asylum seekers to stay in Mexico pending the resolution of their U.S. asylum cases.

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