- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Mexican government says it’s already deported 400 people who were part of the caravan of illegal immigrants crossing its territory in a journey from Central America to the U.S. — but says it’s up to American officials, not Mexicans, to stop them from getting into the U.S.

“It is not the responsibility of the Mexican government to make immigration decisions for the United States or any other nation; the appropriate U.S. authorities will decide, if necessary, whether or not to authorize entrance into their territory at the authorized ports of entry and exit for any members of the caravan that request it,” the Mexican interior and foreign ministries said in a joint statement issued Monday.

The “Via Crucis” caravan, organized late last month, is made up mostly of Hondurans en route to the U.S., where they plan to either jump the border illegally or to make a demand for asylum. Reports put the number of people at about 1,500.

President Trump has demanded Mexico do more to stop the caravan, and has threatened to scrap a free trade deal and extract other punishments unless Mexican authorities cooperate.

Mexico, in the new statement, acknowledged that most of the people in the caravan are illegally in Mexico, and said “about 400 have been repatriated to their home countries.”

Mexico said similar caravans have taken place every year about this time since 2010.

This year, Mexico said, it is offering refugee status to some of the migrants.

Mexico said it considers the caravan to be a public demonstration to draw attention to troubled conditions in Central America.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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