Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Thursday many migrants believe the “doors are open” to the United States following the election of President Joe Biden.
López Obrador urged migrants not to believe traffickers who tell them they could get legal status immediately.
He said he welcomed Biden’s immigration overhaul, but that it would take time to be approved and implemented.
“Now, for example, that there is a U.S. immigration policy to regularize the situation of migrants, Mexicans and our Central American brothers, people think that now the doors are open, that President Biden is going to immediately regularize all migrants,” López Obrador said.
“It is not true that everyone can go now to the United States and they will be regularized, that has not been defined yet,” he said. “Our brother migrants should have this information so that they won’t be deceived by human traffickers, who paint a rosy picture.”
The Mexican president also cited the recent massacre of 19 people, including at least 14 Guatemalan migrants, as justification for his policy of stopping Central American migrants at Mexico’s southern border.
López Obrador said it was too dangerous to allow migrants to travel through drug cartel territory in northern Mexico.
“This was always our argument, that we need to protect migrants, watch out for them,” he said.
“If they enter [Mexico] and spread out, we cannot keep an eye on them or protect them, and they wind up in the hands of organized crime, they are in danger.”
Fourteen Guatemalans and at least two suspected Mexican migrant traffickers were killed in the northern border state of Tamaulipas on Jan. 22. Their bodies were piled in a pickup truck and burned so badly that three corpses have still not been identified.
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