Under pressure from the U.S. government to contain illegal immigration, Mexico has been quietly flying thousands of undocumented migrants to the south of the country to expedite their departure.
That’s according to migrants and Mexican officials, two of whom said that Mexico has now sent roughly 13,000 people from northern cities to its southern border on about 100 flights and that some 1,200 people were flown south in the past week alone – figures that have not been previously reported.
Reuters video showed a flight carrying dozens of migrants, including children, landing in the southern city of Tapachula last week.
Reuters witnesses said Mexican authorities then loaded the migrants onto buses, drove them about half an hour to a remote border crossing, and instructed them to walk across the pedestrian bridge into Guatemala.
Mexico’s foreign ministry said in a statement it supported a humane migratory system that respected national and international law, and was working with the U.S. to tackle the causes of migration.
The migrant flights come as the Biden administration faces increasing criticism over its management of the issue.
Apprehensions of undocumented migrants on the U.S. southern border with Mexico have surged this year, piling pressure on President Joe Biden, and with it, the Mexican government to stem the flow of people trying to cross the border.