Mexico will not tolerate the presence of Central American migrants who intend to enter the country violently or with an aim to cause trouble, the foreign minister warned Thursday.
Marcelo Ebrard defended Mexico's migration policies and expressed his approval for the efforts of the National Guard, which last week detained some 800 migrants from the so-called "2020 Caravan".
The group had crossed the Suchiate River along Mexico's southern border to illegally enter the country from Guatemala on their way to the United States.
"If you come to Mexico to provoke, create conflict, I will return you to your country, because we don't have to support, to tolerate that," Ebrard said before the Mexican Senate.
"Mexican policy offers you refuge, temporary employment, medical support -- everything that you want according to Mexican norms, norms that favour those seeking refuge," he said. "But if you come to Mexico to provoke, you will be returned to your country."
Ebrard revealed that refugee requests from Central Americans in Mexico have grown from 6,000 last year to more than 70,000.
"When it is said that we don't want to admit anybody, that is false. The numbers are not a coincidence," he said. "If the shelters have grown by 10 times, how can it be argued then that Mexico changed its policy to now be a policy of non-entry?"
Ebrard said the foreign ministry has had to support the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR) in processing a large number of applications.
He said that 90 percent of Hondurans who had entered Mexico illegally with the "2020 Caravan" have been deported after they threw stones at National Guard troops stationed along the border at the Suchiate River.
Mexico's National Institute of Migration (INM) said Monday that they had deported some 2,3000 Hondurans between January 18 and 27.
"We returned them all to Honduras, because they can't enter Mexico in that way," the agency said.
After several migrant caravans made their way to the southern US border in 2018 and 2019, US President Donald Trump threatened Mexico with economic sanctions if they did not take steps to stem the flow of people.
Mexican President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador sent some 26,000 troops to the country's northern and southern borders in response.