MEXICO CITY — The Mexican government has pledged to put guards at some 370 illegal crossing points along the country's southern border with Guatemala.
The crossings "will be guarded and controlled to prevent the entry of undocumented people," Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero said Monday.
Currently, migrants cross along almost the entire length of the Usumacinta and Suchiate rivers that separate the two countries.
Sanchez Cordero did not set a date for accomplishing the task of securing the porous border. But she said Mexico would not allow a repeat of events In October, when caravans of Central American migrants scuffled with Mexican police on the main border bridge, and then simply crossed the river to gain entry.
"We have information that a new caravan is forming to enter our country in mid-January," Sanchez Cordero said. "We are already taking the necessary steps to ensure the caravan enters in a safe and orderly way."
"There are leaders in the caravan that are directing it, trying to burst into our country, but we will not allow any entry that is not orderly, safe and controlled by Mexican laws," she said.
Sanchez Cordero promised that migrants who present identity documents and apply for a transit, humanitarian or refugee visa would get a response within three days.
Sanchez Cordero also pledged additional immigration and enforcement agents at the 12 formal points of entry on the border.