Roundup: Mexico repels safe country status with progress in immigration curb

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MEXICO CITY, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Mexico sees no need to negotiate the safe third country status with the United States, as Mexico made progress in immigration control which has been acknowledged by the United States.

"In the area of immigration, Secretary (of State) Pompeo recognized the significant progress of Mexico's operations in keeping with the June 7 agreement reached between the two countries in Washington," the ministry said on Sunday in a statement issued after Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Mexico City.

With that in mind, the ministry said Ebrard "does not consider it necessary to begin any type of negotiation regarding an eventual safe third country agreement between Mexico and the United States."

On June 7, the Mexican and U.S. governments reached an agreement in a bid to drastically reduce the influx of undocumented Central American migrants into Mexico to reach the U.S. border.

If the related measures fail, the two countries are to negotiate a plan that would allow most migrant asylum seekers to seek refuge in Mexico, as a so-called safe third country, instead of the United States, while Mexico is opposed to the plan.

Pompeo flew to Mexico to meet Ebrard on Sunday morning over the immigration issue, among others, before the July 22 deadline, the half way of a 90-day span that Mexico has agreed to reduce migration across it toward the U.S. border in exchange for U.S. removal of tariff threats on Mexican exports.

Pompeo reportedly recognized Mexico's increased progress in immigration law enforcement to stem U.S.-bound migrant flows, but noted that there was still much more work to do.

According to U.S. media, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recorded that the number of migrants reaching the U.S.-Mexico border dropped 28 percent in June compared with May.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that Mexico has succeeded in "substantially" curbing the flow of undocumented Central American migrants passing through its southern border.

"When we began the whole strategy, about 3,000 people entered in an irregular way (without documents). Now, about 400 to 500 are entering," said Maximiliano Reyes, deputy foreign minister responsible for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Mexico has stepped up security at its border with Guatemala and its new National Guard troops were deployed to the border area to safeguard entry points that were increasingly overwhelmed by migrants.

Meanwhile, the country is also spearheading a development strategy to address the issue of poverty that is driving Central Americans from their homes.

During their meeting on Sunday, Ebrard also discussed other issues of Mexico's concern with Pompeo, including urging the United States to help stem the flow of illegal weapons into Mexico, especially at border crossing points.

After his brief visit to Mexico, Pompeo headed for El Salvador to ask the country to block the tide of migrants in a bid to fulfill U.S. President Donald Trump's promises to curb migrants from Central America to the United States.

Trump has pledged to build a wall on the U.S. southern border with Mexico and has been fighting with the U.S. Congress for funding for building the wall. He even said that he wanted Mexico to pay for it. Enditem

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