NENTÓN, Guatemala – The family of Aguilar is preparing to migrate north in February. They have borrowed $ 2,600, made an advance payment to a smuggler and left their home in northern Guatemala last week.
But at the Guatemala border with Mexico, the smuggler had bad news: The move to Mexico was too risky. The June 7 deal between the Mexican authorities and the United States on reducing migration has led to additional border security forces.
Until now, the mobilization of Mexico's security forces has failed to achieve the dramatic demonstration of force that the government has promised, with apparently only a fraction of the 6,000 members of the National Guard, currently operating in southern Mexico.
"We do not know whether this is a final change or just for a while "says 27-year-old Juan Alberto Aguilar, who travels with his wife and 3-year-old daughter. The family casually put on the central square of Nenton, a village near the border between Guatemala and Mexico, waiting for the minibus to take them home.
The deployment plan is part of a deal between President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's administration in Mexico, and the US government will thwart President Trump's threats to potential tariff crippling.
On Thursday, President Trump praised the Mexican president for his early efforts. Trump said. "This already has a big impact."
In Ciudad Hidalgo, a lively market town in Mexico near the southwest corner of the border, traders say they have seen a significant drop in business over the past two weeks. Most of their customers are Guatemals who avoid paying for their purchases by returning illegally to Guatemala on rafts crossing the Suchiate River, which demarcates this section of the border.
"People are afraid to come. because they are afraid the government will come and take their goods, "said Mary, a salesman at Ciudad Hidalgo, who wants her name to be detained for fear of persecution by the government. "We live in this trade, we eat from this trade." On the other side of the border, in Nenton, Guatemala, 30-year-old Silvia Awaja, a joint shop owner, said she usually travel to Mexico every three months to buy products like soap, deodorant and toothpaste. But the new security measures in Mexico had scared her.
She had also heard that the Mexican authorities confiscated goods on the black market to buyers.
"I think I will not go there anymore," she said.
But the effect of deployment is most felt among documentary migrants who now see more impenetrable Mexico.
Jonathan, a 28-year-old student at a Nicaraguan seminary, said he had fled his home after being subjected to government persecution and death threats following his involvement in anti-government protests last year. First he tried to settle in Costa Rica, but with more threats to his death, he flew to Guatemala and traveled by land to the border with Mexico.
He came to Frontera Comalapa, 25 miles to Mexico, before the new migration. "I never thought it would be," he said, sitting in a kitchen kitchen one afternoon afternoon, and considering the possibility of being as far north as he was going.
Three friends from Nicaragua, who had also arrived at Frontera Comalapa, had already returned to Central America to wait for a better time to try to reach the United States.
But returning to Nicaragua, Jonathan said, was not an option for him. His goal was still to reach the United States, which promised much better livelihood.
"I will fight," he continued, demanding partial anonymity for his legal status in Mexico. "I will do my best to get there."
So far, however, he considers the possibility of applying for asylum in Mexico. Migrants' advocates say many other Americans and others have decided to do this, as this is one of the few options left in the face of repression.
"Before there is a crossing of whole families," said 52-year-old Israel's Lopez Ordonez, a Sichiate river veteran in Ciudad Hidalgo . "Not now."
In the Guatemalan border town of La Mesilla, near Frontera Comalapa, Carmelo, 50, changed money, said several people he knew – including friends and family – had broken off their plans to migrate north.
"That's not good," he said for the new measures. "If Guatemala travels to the States, many people here can live in Guatemala."
Even the smugglers – responsible for carrying many, if not most, migrants to the southwestern border of the United States – postpone or
Similar to Aguilar's family, 19-year-old Ottoman Lopez, a Guatemalan migrant, the Mexican border when his smuggler told him to turn around and go home.
He said he's gone. during his trip to the United States, knowing that he can face a number of potential dangers such as fatigue, hunger, and possible violence. But the Mexican government's repression was not part of his belief.
"You always know it will be difficult," he said here in Nenton, bending down from the van that would take him out of his home. in southwest Guatemala. "But now they said we could not get through all the blockades."
The deal with the Trump administration gave President Lopez Obrador 45 days to prove that Mexico could reduce the number of migrants going to the United States. Initially, the Mexican authorities said they would send new forces to the National Guard in southern Mexico to block the northern flow of undocumented migrants
But the deployment is stopped and confused. Mexican officials then relinquished their initial promise to mobilize 6,000 national guards and instead said forces would include armed forces.
Maximiliano Reyes Zuniga, an assistant foreign secretary, said last week that only 40 percent of
officials in Chiapas also admitted that limiting illegal migration through the state with a long border with Guatemala would be extremely difficult , if not impossible.
crosses the back roads and pedestrian paths. Residents and other people have suggested that forged government officials who have instigated smugglers and migrants will not be eliminated soon. The authorities and the security services that work with them appear to be more in-depth in the screening of undocumented migrant vehicles.
Officials have also begun a more ambitious work to combat smuggling operations that are responsible for escorting many, if not most, migrants to the north
Migrants' protectors have warned that repression can cause human rights violations , a concern highlighted by the recent death of of a 19-year-old immigrant from Salvador, who was riding a truck traveling to the US border. Witnesses told the investigators that men dressed in police uniforms and police driving vehicles opened fire on the truck after crossing a migratory post in Veracruz province and escaping. Military forces, some of which are equipped with gangs from the National Guard, were charged with night patrols and questioned the passengers of passing vehicles and checked their cargo.
Immigrants' advocates expected that the growing presence of security forces will continue to reduce the number of people trying to migrate to the north, but expect the flow to recover over time, perhaps through more remote and dangerous migration routes.
"It will be like when Trump becomes president, and the migration rate has fallen for several months, but then regained it," said David Tobasura, an immigration consultant in Chiapas. Friendship Service. "This will not stop migration. Certainly, after a few weeks or months, he will come back. It will be the same as before. "