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Mexico's tactic to cut immigration to the US: grind migrants down

“Here, again.”

Yeneska García’s face crumbled as she said it, and she pressed her head into her hands.

Since fleeing crisis in Venezuela in January, the 23-year-old had trekked through the Darien Gap jungle dividing Colombia and Panama, narrowly survived being kidnapped by a Mexican cartel and waited months for an asylum appointment with the United States that never came. She finally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in May, only to have American authorities expel her.

Now she was back in southern Mexico, after Mexican immigration bused her to sweltering Villahermosa and dropped her on the street.

“I would rather cross the Darien Gap 10,000 times than cross Mexico,” García said, sitting in a migrant shelter.

She clutched a crinkled Ziploc bag that held her Venezuelan ID, an inhaler and an apple — her few remaining possessions.

Driven by mounting pressure from the U.S. to block millions of vulnerable people headed north, but lacking the funds to deport them, Mexican authorities are employing a simple but harsh tactic: wearing migrants out until they give up.

That means migrants are churning in limbo here as authorities round them up across the country and dump them in the southern Mexican cities of Villahermosa and Tapachula. Some have been punted back as many as six times.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Monday that the policy protects migrants.

“We care a lot… about keeping migrants in the southeast because crossing to the north is very risky,” López Obrador said, responding to a question from The Associated Press during his daily briefing.

But the moves have forced migrants, including pregnant women and children, into even more precarious situations. That’s likely to worsen under President Joe

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