Mexico uses X-ray in its crackdown on illegal immigrants entering country

Mexico is using a variety of resources as it steps up itsimmigration enforcement after a deal brokered with the United States to avoid tariffs— including a giant X-ray.

While the Mexican National Guard deploys to places likeTapachula on the country’s southern border and makes changes to its asylum protocol, agents with the country’s National Migration Institute (INM) are using an X-ray to find migrants being smuggled into the country in trucks.

Mexican officials say they caught more than 200 migrants hidden in trucks the last two days, using X-rays to see the people hidden inside. The Mexican security ministry also said it found 228 migrants in a routine search of a soft drink transportation truck in one of its southern states on Monday.

The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter Valeria lie on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, on Monday.

The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter Valeria lie on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, on Monday. (AP)

The INM’s new leader, former prisons chief Francisco Garduno, has overseen several high-profile busts of commercial vehicles smuggling migrants, including 800 people in four trucks the weekend he took over.

The Mexican authorities primarily capture migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, many of which are minors. They attempt to travel through Mexico to the United States southern border, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported nearly 133,000 arrests in May.

“We are in a full-blown emergency,” a CBP official said June 5.

For its part, Mexico is putting its resources into stopping the flow from Central America. Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said the attorney general’s office has about 11 open investigations into migrant smugglers.

“It is our strategic objective to end the impunity for human traffickers,” Ebrard said at a news conference on Monday.

Last month President Donald Trump threatened the country with tariffs if it didn’t take steps to stem the tide of people arriving at the U.S. border. He threatened a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican goods to start on June 10 that would increase to 25 percent by October unless Mexico took strong enough action.

Last month, Trump announced the two countries had come to an agreement to avert tariffs, with Mexico promising to deploy its National Guard, increase actions against human trafficking and coordinate with the U.S. government to, “better protect and secure our common border,” according to a State Department statement.

Tyler Olson, Gregg Re, Brooke Singman, Jake Gibson and Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report.

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