On Monday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said around 10,000 migrants per day are heading to the United States border through Mexico, blaming American economic sanctions on countries like Cuba and Venezuela for the influx.
Obrador said the number of migrants reaching Mexico’s northern border with the U.S. was due to about 6,000 migrants per day crossing into Mexico from Guatemala over the past few days.
He added that many migrants are traveling through Central America via the jungle-clad Darien Gap region between Panama and Colombia.
“The economic sanctions against Cuba have been in place for decades, and the sanctions against Venezuela are not new either,” said Ira Mehlman, media director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Obrador suggested that the U.S. economic sanctions are because of ideological differences between the U.S., Cuba, and Venezuela and not to uphold human rights, saying that the sanctions and blockades “cannot be maintained.”
Last week, Obrador said the U.S. needs to “remove blockades and stop harassing independent and free countries.” He added that there should be “an integrated plan for cooperation so the Venezuelans, Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Ecuadorians, Guatemalans and Hondurans wouldn’t be forced to emigrate.”
In Washington, lawmakers and immigration experts say Obrador’s administration has done very little to stop migrants from traveling on freight trains toward the U.S. border until the country’s railway line stopped trains last month over safety risks.
“What has changed dramatically are the policies of the U.S. government under the Biden administration. While there are always external factors such as corrupt and incompetent government in other countries, the biggest factor driving this unprecedented surge of illegal migrants is that, under the Biden administration, the migrants know that our borders are wide open,” Mehlman told The Foreign Desk.
U.S. Border Patrol officials note that there has been a surge in Venezuelan migrants coming through Mexico in recent weeks to reach the U.S. border. While the Biden administration has maintained that the situation at the U.S.-Southern Border with Mexico remains under control, reports from Border officials and state and local officials in Texas and Arizona say the situation continues to be overwhelming.