JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – As caravans once again assemble in Central America, Juarez is preparing to deal with future migrant waves coming to the border.
Chihuahua state authorities recently unveiled a streamlined Migrant Assistance Center near the Paso del Norte port of entry to the United States and Mayor Armando Cabada on Monday said his city can handle up to 8,000 new migrants at a time.
“That’s how many we had at peak last time, and our city did not collapse. That is the benchmark we can use to answer your question,” Cabada told Border Report on Monday.
Earlier on Monday, Guatemalan troops pushed back hundreds of migrants near the border with Honduras intent on traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border. Some of the migrants accepted rides back to Honduras and others were turned back with tear gas, the Associated Press reported.
Cabada said his office has open lines of communication both with Mexico City authorities as well as with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stay up to date on any possible mass movement of migrants toward the U.S. border.
“The central government is being proactive, something that did not happen with the (2018-2019) caravans,” he said. “Both (Mexico) and Guatemala have installed checkpoints and the President (Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador) said there will be no open access for migrants without knowing who is coming in and what for.”
He said such filters will give Juarez more time to and a more precise idea of how many migrants are coming and when they’ll get to the border, in order to be better prepared.
“We don’t have as many migrants in shelters right now. There is space for (new arrivals). But I’m not saying this to invite them to come. Right now, U.S. laws are basically denying (migrants) access to their country,” Cabada said. “Either way, we will be paying attention to these caravans.”
Cabada said he’s meeting with a top CBP official in El Paso, Texas later this week and that his police officers are carrying out patrols on the south side banks of the Rio Grande to chase off organized smuggling gangs, known here as “coyotes.” The Juarez police patrols are time to coincide with U.S. Border Patrol sweeps on the north side of the river, the mayor said.