President Lopez Obrador warns against taking "risky" journeys to the US ahead of his tour of Central America that includes stops in three of the main countries where migrant caravans originate.
Mexico will step up security along its southern border in preparation for a possible new wave of migrants headed for the United States, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said.
The two countries are bracing for an expected surge in arrivals if Washington ends a pandemic-era rule known as Title 42 used to quickly expel migrants, purportedly on health grounds.
"We have to protect the southern border — although it may seem contradictory or paradoxical — migrants because it is not a good idea to cross the country. It's very risky and we have to take care of them," Lopez Obrador told reporters on Wednesday.
He was speaking on the eve of a tour of Central America that will include stops in three of the main countries where migrant caravans originate: Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Mexico's southern and northern borders are already guarded by thousands of soldiers.
Many thousands of US-bound undocumented migrants, most of them Central Americans, cross Mexico's southern frontier with Guatemala each year fleeing poverty and violence.
US President Joe Biden plans to end Title 42 on May 23, although a federal judge last month temporarily blocked such a move after the Republican states of Missouri, Louisiana and Arizona filed a lawsuit.
The order prevents the US administration from taking any action before a hearing on May 13 to determine whether the rule can be lifted.
US Customs and Border Protection has registered 7,800 undocumented migrants a day along the border with Mexico in recent weeks — almost five times the average in 2014-2019.
In 2021, Mexican authorities detected more than 300,000 irregular migrants.