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Soldiers assigned to the National Guard keep watch near a section of the border fence between Mexico and U.S. as seen from Anapra neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez
An agent of the National Migration Institute (INM) escorts a migrant detained during an operation in Tapachula
Soldiers assigned to the National Guard keep watch along the Rio Bravo river, natural border between Mexico and U.S., as seen from Ciudad Juarez
An agent of the National Migration Institute (INM) checks documents of African migrants during an operation in Tapachula
FILE PHOTO: Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard attends a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico does not expect the United States to threaten to put tariffs on its goods when it holds talks next week with U.S. officials about its efforts to curb migration from Central America, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Friday.
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Speaking at a regular government news conference alongside President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Ebrard said Mexico had reduced the flow of undocumented migrants crossing the country toward the U.S. border by 56% between May and August.
At the end of May, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to put tariffs on all Mexican exports to the United States if Mexico did not significantly curb a recent surge in illegal immigration from Central America into the United States.
In June, the two sides agreed to a 90-day window for Mexico to reduce the migrant flows after it agreed to deploy thousands of security forces to its borders and began taking more asylum-seekers from the United States while their cases were being processed.
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That period ended this week, and Ebrard is due to hold talks with U.S. officials on Tuesday to discuss Mexico's efforts.
Mexico's position would be that the strategy has been a success, Ebrard told the news conference.
"I don't expect there to be a tariff threat on Tuesday," Ebrard said, pointing to the reduction in migrant flows.
The minister reiterated that Mexico would not accept becoming a so-called safe third country, which would oblige migrants to seek asylum in Mexico rather than the United States.
Trump has lauded the Mexican government for curbing flows since the June deal. By July, apprehensions at the U.S. southern border had dropped by about a third, according to American data. Trump said this week that trend has continued.
Slideshow by photo services
African migrants participate in a sit-in to demand humanitarian visas that would enable them to cross Mexico on their way to the US, in Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, on Aug. 30.
A soldier assigned to the National Guard is silhouetted while keeping watch near a section of the border fence between Mexico and the United States, as pictured at Anapra neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez, on Sept. 3.
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A section of the border fence between Mexico and the United States is pictured at Anapra neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez, on Sept. 3.
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Soldiers assigned to the Mexican National Guard patrol along the Rio Bravo, at the border with the United States, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, on Sept. 3.
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Central American migrants cross the Suchiate River, in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, border with Guatemala, on Sept. 1.
A child, with a sign that reads in French "No to racism" on his back, stands in front of military police officers during a protest of African migrants demanding humanitarian visas on Aug. 30.
Families arrive on an ICE deportation flight from Brownsville, Texas on Aug. 29 to Guatemala City.
Guatemalan police escort a convicted criminal who arrived on an ICE deportation flight from Brownsville, Texas on Aug. 29 to Guatemala City.
A Guatemalan immigration official holds an intake interview with a woman arriving on an ICE deportation flight from Brownsville, Texas on Aug. 29.
Raina Lisette embraces her son Lester Andre, 4, after the two arrived on an ICE deportation flight from Brownsville Texas on Aug. 29 to Guatemala City.
A car drives past the new bollard-style U.S.-Mexico border fencing in Santa Teresa, New Mexico as pictured from Ascension, Mexico Aug. 28.
Migrants from Haiti and Africa protest in front of federal police, outside the Siglo XXI immigrant detention center, demanding that Mexican migration authorities speed up issuing their humanitarian visas so they can travel to the U.S., in Tapachula, Mexico, on Aug. 27.
Migrants from Haiti and Africa sit in front a barricade by riot police in Tapachula, Mexico, on Aug. 26.
A demonstrator holds up a banner calling for freedom for African migrants in Tapachula, Mexico, on Aug. 26.
Demonstrators speak with officials of the armed forces and police in Tapachula, Mexico, on Aug. 26.
Migrants from Haiti and Africa clash with federal police during the protest in Tapachula, Mexico, on Aug. 27.
Thirteen year-old Joseline, a Guatemalan migrant seeking asylum with father Jose Luis, cries after crossing the Rio Grande and turning herself in to U.S. Border Patrol in Hidalgo, Texas, on Aug. 23.
U.S. Border Patrol agent Carlos Ruiz helps asylum-seeking migrant families unload from a U.S. Border Patrol riverine unit after they were rescued during an attempted illegal crossing of the Rio Grande in Hidalgo, Texas, on Aug. 23.
Migrant families turn themselves to U.S. Border Patrol to seek asylum following an illegal crossing of the Rio Grande in Hidalgo, Texas, on Aug. 23.
Migrant families from Honduras turn themselves to U.S. Border Patrol to seek asylum following an illegal crossing of the Rio Grande in Hidalgo, Texas, on Aug. 23.
Nely, a Honduran migrant seeking asylum with her family, receives a medical evaluation from a U.S. Border Patrol agent trained as an emergency medical technician (EMT) after illegally crossing the Rio Grande and turning herself in to law enforcement in Hidalgo, Texas, on Aug. 23.
Migrant families who turned themselves to U.S. Border Patrol to seek asylum after illegally crossing the Rio Grande are loaded onto a transport bus in Hidalgo, Texas, on Aug. 23.
Migrant men sit on the ground after being detained by law enforcement for illegally crossing the Rio Grande and attempting to evade capture in Hidalgo, Texas, on Aug. 23.
U.S. Border Patrol agent Carlos Ruiz searches for migrants who illegally crossed the Rio Grande in Hidalgo, Texas, on Aug. 23.
Department of Homeland Security acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan holds a news conference to announce new rules about how migrant children and families are treated in federal custody at the Ronald Reagan Building on Aug. 21 in Washington, DC. The Trump Administration announced the change in rules that would allow it to indefinitely detain migrant families who cross the border illegally, replacing the Flores Agreement which limited on how long the government could hold migrant children in custody and how they must be cared for.
Timothy S. Robbins, Acting Executive Associate Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), second from right, gives a press interview at La Aurora International airport after deplaning an aircraft that was carrying deported migrants to Guatemala City, on Aug. 20. According to an ICE press release, ICE has deported almost 49,000 Guatemalans, including more than 1,500 families, a 50% increase in deportations of families over the previous year.
Part of 120 deported migrants arrive at the Air Force Base in Guatemala City on Aug. 20 as the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting Executive Associate Director Timothy S Robbins offers a press conference on the tarmac of the base.
Migrants from Haiti and Africa protest outside the Siglo XXI immigrant detention center to demand the Mexican migration authorities to speed up their humanitarian visas to cross the country towards the U.S., on Aug. 20 in Tapachula, Mexico. The signs read "Free migrant. The life of a human being, is not equal to a piece of paper".
Migrant family jump wall to reach the United States, on Aug. 19, migrants were arrested by the border patrol on the southern border of the United States Antellope Wells, Ciudad Juarez ,Chihuahua, Mexico.
Acting Deputy Patrol Agent in Charge Oscar Escamilla speaks to members of the media at the US Border Patrol Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas on Aug. 12. Border Patrol officials said that 1,267 people were being held and processed in the facility at the time of the tour.
Recently detained migrants, many of them family units, sit and await processing in the US Border Patrol Central Processing Center on Aug. 12.
A male minor rests under mylar blankets in the US Border Patrol Central Processing Center on Aug. 12.
Children and fathers watch a movie in the US Border Patrol Central Processing Center on Aug. 12.
People cross the border from Mexico at the El Paso Port of Entry in Texas, on Aug. 6.
A migrant sleeps inside a tent at the foot of the Puerta Mexico bridge that crosses the border to Brownsville, Texas, from Matamoros, Mexico, on Aug. 4.
A woman holds a sign that reads "No more migrant deaths" during a mass in honour of Honduran migrant Marco Tulio, who according to the Attorney General's Office of Coahuila was shot dead by a member of a state police unit near a train station, at Santiago cathedral in Saltillo, Mexico on Aug. 3.
A Central American migrant rides on the side of a train during his journey toward the U.S. on Aug. 3.
A teacher interacts with migrant children during English lessons at a bus converted in a classroom as part of Schools On Wheels program by California's 'Yes We Can' organisation, in Tijuana, Mexico on Aug. 2.
Norme Mendez, wife of Salvadoran migrant Marvin Antonio Gonzalez, who recently died in a border detention center in New Mexico, shows pictures of Marvin on Aug. 2.
A U.S Customs officer verifies the visas of a man and his family in Matamoros, Mexico at the foot of the Puerta Mexico bridge that crosses into Brownsville, Texas, on Aug. 2. The United States government has sent about 900 migrants, mostly Central American and Cuban, back to the northern Mexico border since expanding its controversial “remain in Mexico” program to the easternmost point on the shared border two weeks ago, Mexican authorities say.
Migrant kids watch cartoons on a cellphone in a shelter at the Viento Recio church, in Matamoros, Mexico, on Aug. 2.
A Central American migrant hangs laundry on a makeshift clothesline outside the Viento Recio church, on Aug. 2.
Migrants listen as a Mexican migration officer verifies their identity on a list, at the foot of the Puerta Mexico bridge on Aug. 2.
Migrants chat at night as they camp at the foot of the Puerta Mexico bridge on Aug. 1.
Migrants charge their phones at the foot of the Puerta Mexico bridge on Aug. 1.
A young migrant from Cuba looks up at the camera inside Viento Recio church, serving as a migrant shelter in Matamoros, Mexico, on Aug. 1, on the border with Brownsville, Texas.
Mexican government workers walk inside the newly opened migrant shelter, formerly an assembly plant, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Aug. 1.
A man displays a floor plan during a media tour to show the facilities of the Leona Vicario Center, on Aug. 1.
Central American migrants, returned from the U.S. to Nuevo Laredo in Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) to wait for their court hearing for asylum seekers, are seen walking towards a shelter after arriving to Monterrey, Mexico on July 31.
Migrant families seeking asylum are released from federal detention in McAllen, Texas on July 31.
Migrants return to Mexico, using the Puerta Mexico bridge that crosses the Rio Grande river, in Matamoros, on July 31, on the border with Brownsville, Texas.
A woman helps her girls play on a seesaw installed between the border fence that divides Mexico from the United States in Ciudad de Juarez, Mexico on July 28. The seesaw was designed by Ronald Rael, a professor of architecture in California.
Magdaleno, a Honduran migrant, applies calamine lotion to a rash on 17 year-old daughter Karen, as the two wrestle with the emotional toll of their journey to seek asylum at a makeshift encampment near the U.S. port of entry at the Gateway International Bridge in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico on July 27.
Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez show a cooperation document during an official event in Minatitlan, in Veracruz state, Mexico on July 27.
President Donald Trump speaks to members of the press after a “safe third country” agreement was signed in the Oval Office on July 26 in Washington, DC. The U.S. and Guatemala signed the agreement to require asylum-seekers to request protection in Guatemala first.
President Trump watches as Guatemala's Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart (L) and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan exchange documents while signing a safe-third agreement on July 26 in Washington, DC.
"I want to thank Mexico, the Mexican government, their great President of Mexico, for helping us," he told reporters on Wednesday. "They’re helping us in a very big way. Far bigger than anybody thought even possible."
Ebrard said the Mexican government would keep investing in social programs in the south of Mexico as well as in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the three Central American countries where most migrants depart from.
"This reduction of 56% in the flow of migrants is a result of diverse measures that the government has taken, in compliance with the Mexican migration law," he said.
Ebrard said that there had been only seven official complaints about human rights violations by Mexican forces.
(Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher and Miguel Angel Lopez; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)
In a Mexican border town, Central Americans returned by the U.S. are systematically targeted by kidnappers seeking ransom.
The kidnappers came to the shelter near the U.S.-Mexico border looking for Cuban migrants, favored targets because relatives in the United States are known to pay exorbitant ransoms to free abducted loved ones. © Marco Ugarte/AP Photo Migrants wait at an immigration center on the International Bridge 1, in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, Tuesday, July 16, 2019. A U.S. policy to make asylum seekers wait in Mexico while their cases wind through clogged U.S. immigration courts has also expanded to the violent city of Nuevo Laredo.