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Mexican Ambassador To U.S. Predicts Caravan Will 'Conclude' Within Days

The Mexican ambassador to the United States, Gerónimo Gutiérrez, speaks at a news conference at the Mexican Embassy in Washington on March 9, 2017.
Aaron Bernstein
The Mexican ambassador to the United States, Gerónimo Gutiérrez, speaks at a news conference at the Mexican Embassy in Washington on March 9, 2017.

Mexico's ambassador to the United States, Gerónimo Gutiérrez, says that the Mexican government has been working to "manage migration flows" — despite President Trump's tweets accusing the country of doing "very little, if not NOTHING," to stop crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Gutiérrez says that a caravan of U.S.-bound Central American migrants, also the target of the president's ire in recent days, is reducing in numbers and likely to wrap up soon.

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The ambassador spoke to NPR's All Things Consideredon Tuesday, days after Trump began a series of tweets about the caravan.

As we have previously reported, the president's remarks "include some debatable claims about DACA, border security, and immigration law and policy on both sides of the Southern border."

NPR's Mexico correspondent, Carrie Kahn, explains that the caravan is an annual event organized by activists, designed to keep migrants safe and share information about their rights. The migrants traveled to Mexico separately, largely from Honduras, before meeting up to travel together.

The caravan is not a new phenomenon, but the attention this caravan is receiving is unusual. Meanwhile, the number of crossings across the border between Mexico and the U.S. has dropped significantly, recently hitting the lowest level in decades. And a growing number of Central Americans are requesting asylum in Mexico, instead of seeking to enter the U.S.

Mexico has pushed back on Trump's assertions that the country is not acting to stem the flow of migrants across the border.

Officials say the country works closely with the U.S. on migration and security, and has already deported hundreds of unauthorized immigrants in the caravan, and plans to review the status of others.

Ambassador Gutiérrez called it a "daunting task" to address immigration "not only between Mexico and the U.S., but regionally. ... People don't often realize that, but the vast majority of people that arrive to the U.S.-Mexico border are no longer Mexicans, they are Central Americans."

As for the suddenly high-profile caravan of migrants, the event "is largely intended to highlight migrants' rights in Mexico," he says. "We have been in contact with the U.S. Embassy since March 25 regarding this situation.

"We're trying to find the best ways to manage migration flows in a way that it's respectful both to the laws of the United States and Mexico, and we have seen the numbers of people in the caravan by their own will drastically reduce," Gutiérrez says.

"The Mexican government has proceeded when appropriate with repatriations. And ... it has offered also when appropriate humanitarian relief to its members.

"It's not unlikely that you will see that in the next few days the caravan concludes — I would say even before reaching Mexico City," he says.

The caravan has been stopped in a town in Oaxaca, Reuters reports, where participants are "confused and frustrated by paperwork" as officials are registering them and determining their legal status.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.
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