Mexico president blames migrant caravans on smugglers

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A Central American migrant man carrying a child walks along the highway through Tonala, Chiapas state, Mexico, Sunday, April 21, 2019, as a migrant caravan heads to the U.S. border. The outpouring of aid that once greeted Central American migrants as they trekked in caravans through southern Mexico has been drying up, so this group is hungrier, advancing slowly or not at all, and hounded by unhelpful local officials. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says that recent caravans of Central American migrants were organized by human smugglers.

López Obrador’s remarks Thursday were his most direct about the origins of the migrant caravans that transited Mexico last year and early this year and more closely parallel the position of U.S. immigration authorities. He had previously suggested the caravans had been infiltrated.

López Obrador said smugglers “charge considerable amounts to transport migrants and they are the ones who organize these caravans. It’s not that they arise spontaneously. It’s a network that exists.”

He said those smugglers are committing a crime and Mexico is cracking down on them.

The president’s comments came after several days of protests by migrants outside an immigration detention center in the southern city of Tapachula.

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