Mexican authorities on Monday detained hundreds of Central American migrants in groups straggling at the end of a caravan of thousands moving towards the U.S. border.
As many as 500 migrants traveling with the caravan of about 3,000 were detained in the town of Pijijiapan in Chiapas, a Mexican state that borders Guatemala, according to the Associated Press.
Federal police and agents in patrol trucks and vans encouraged the groups to rest and later arrested men, women, and children as they paused in patches of shade. The migrants were driven to buses, likely for transport to immigration stations to begin the deportation process.
Several caravans have made their way to the U.S. border since last year, the first right before the U.S. midterm congressional elections.
The crackdown, reportedly the largest single raid on a migrant caravan since the first one started moving last year, comes just after the Trump administration called on Mexico to take more action to stem the flow of migrants heading to the border.
As ports of entry and immigration stations in the U.S. have become more clogged with asylum seekers and other migrants, Trump threatened to shut down the southern border, saying the economic cost of doing so may be worth it.
“Sure, it will have a negative effect on the economy,” Trump said of closing the border earlier this month. “[Mexico is] a very big trading partner. . . . But security is what is most important. I mean, we have to have security.”
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador originally promised more humane treatment of Central American migrants in his country. However, since unexpectedly high numbers of migrants began to flow in, Mexico has rolled back its generous visa policy and upped detentions, according to government data.