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US officials in Mexico tell migrants border is ‘closed’

(Mexican immigration agents review the IDs of Guatemalan travelers at an access point to the Suchiate River, on the border between Guatemala and Mexico, near Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, on Sunday. Mexico sent hundreds of immigration agents, police and national guard troops to its southern border to crack down on migrant smuggling. Photo: Eduardo Verdugo-AP)

MEXICO CITY, (AFP):- Roberta Jacobson, the US coordinator for the southern border, had a message Tuesday for undocumented migrants heading across Mexico to the United States: please don’t come.
“Do not come to the border. The border is closed,” she said in an audio message issued by the US Embassy in Mexico City.
“People who intend to travel to the United States in an irregular fashion run the risk of becoming victims of crime and human smugglers,” Jacobson said.
The audio message was released after Jacobson and Juan Gonzalez, in charge of Latin American affairs at the National Security Council, held a meeting with Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.
It comes as migrants, many from Central America fleeing economic crisis, crime and environmental devastation, are traveling through Mexico in growing numbers seeking to enter the United States.
In the message Jacobson warned that migrants who reach Mexico’s northern border endure “a dangerous trip,” and that the coyotes — human smugglers — whom they pay for help “are dangerous people.”
Furthermore, “in this moment of global pandemic, traveling and living in large groups or camps increases the risk of contracting and transmitting Covid-19… stay safe and await more information on the asylum process,” Jacobson said.
Data from US Customs and Border Protection indicates that 100,000 people were caught trying to illegally enter the country in February alone.
The growing crisis has even prompted President Joe Biden to tell the potential migrants: “Don’t come over … Don’t leave your town or city or community.”
Mexico has increased patrols on its southern border with Guatemala to stop undocumented Central Americans heading to the United States.
Since January it has identified 4,180 undocumented minors from Central American hoping to cross into the United States.
Jacobson and Gonzalez are in Mexico with the goal of working with authorities there on developing a plan to manage the flow of migrants.

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