Mexican tax officials froze the assets of 26 individuals and entities reportedly tied to human trafficking or to funding illegal Central American migrant caravans heading for the US.
Thousands of migrants from the so-called “northern triangle” were funded to trek through Mexico to the US border. The funding for the migrant caravans allegedly came from Britain, Africa, the US and Central America, Breitbart reported.
Mexico’s Finance and Tax Secretariat (SHCP) announced that they would freeze accounts after an investigation by their Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF).
The operation tracked financial movements from October 2018 to pinpoint the sources of funding for the illegal migrant caravans. According to their statement, the UIF identified suspects that had been involved in questionable international financial transactions from the cities of Chiapas and Queretaro at the time that the migrant caravans were moving through.
Based on information gained from tracking the movements of the caravans, Mexican authorities were able to trace the source of the funds to the US, England, Cameroon, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, the statement noted.
Authorities did not name the individuals or the entities involved, but said that they would be filing complaints with Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office for prosecution.
Mexican officials have been meeting with their US counterparts to discuss tariffs as a punitive measure over the country’s careless approach to border control.
In the latest development, Mexico has agreed to host more migrants seeking asylum in US and increase enforcement on southern border, staving off import tariffs on Mexican goods, officials confirmed.
President Donald Trump had threatened to impose up to 25 percent on all imported Mexican goods if the country does not control crossings at the US-Mexico border. The tariffs were set to go in effect on Monday, but the president tweeted late on Friday that both governments had reached a deal. Tariffs have now been “indefinitely suspended”.
Negotiating lasted for three days in Washington DC, with businesses such as German auto giant Volkswagen bracing for the Monday deadline. Volkswagen operates several car manufacturing plants in Mexico. A tax on all Mexican goods would have had enormous economic implications for businesses as Americans bought $378bn worth of Mexican imports last year, led by cars and auto parts.
The asylum programme the two countries agreed on, known as Remain in Mexico, will be expanded and currently operates in the border cities of Tijuana, Mexicali and Ciudad Juarez.
The programme was challenged in court by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) together with other rights groups earlier this year, claiming that it “violates US and international law”.
A federal judge initially ruled to halt the policy, but a US appeals court overturned the decision. Between January and 5 June, 10 393 mostly Central Americans have been sent back to Mexico under the programme.
Trump has repeatedly warned of an “invasion” from Mexico giving rise to criminal threats at the border.
ICE agents made 132 887 arrests in May, the first time that detentions increased to more than 100 000 since April 2007, and the highest monthly total since Trump took office.
US border patrol agents in Texas detained hundreds of people from African countries in just the last weeks. US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) called the “dramatic rise” in migrants from African countries arriving in the area, and told the BBC it was a “humanitarian crisis”.
The City of San Antonio is currently looking for French-speaking volunteers to help them cater to this new group of migrants. “We are in full-blown emergency,” a CBP official told Fox News on Wednesday.
Since may 30, more than 500 African migrants have arrived at Del Rio border patrol sector. Most of them are from Angola, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo, CBP said. One such group of 116 people who had all originally travelled from African countries arrived at the southern border last week.
In a recent interview with NPR, some African migrants described first travelling to Brazil, before making their way north through Colombia and Central America towards the US-Mexico border.