No mass deportation, US tells Mexico

Mexico City, Feb 24 (IANS) Two top US envoys have tried to allay fears that Washington is preparing for a mass deportation of undocumented migrants into Mexico.

The assurances came on Thursday night during a joint press conference by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, reports Xinhua news agency.

The two envoys spoke after meeting Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Minister Luis Videgaray and Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong here.

“Let me be very, very clear. There will be no, repeat no, mass deportation. Everything at the Department of Homeland Security will be done legally and according to human rights system in the US,” Kelly said.

President Donald Trump’s vow to crack down on undocumented migrants has struck fear into immigrants living in the US.

Mexican officials are concerned that massive deportation could lead to a humanitarian crisis along the border.

Kelly said: “The focus of deportation will be on the criminal element that has made it into the US. All of this will be done, as it always has been, in close coordination with the Mexican government.”

While there will be “no use of military force” in deportation proceedings, “we will approach this operation systematically, in a results-oriented way, in an operational way, and in a human dignity way”, said the retired Marine Corps general.

Earlier, Trump had described the proposed deportation as “a military operation”.

Tillerson said the US and Mexico pledged to maintain law and order along their border by stopping potential terrorists and dismantling the transnational criminal networks moving drugs and people into the US.

He noted that crime went both ways across the border.

“Similarly we underscored the importance of stopping the illegal firearms and bulk cash that is originating in the US and flowing into Mexico.

“There’s no mistaking that the rule of law matters on both sides of the border,” he said.

Mexican Foreign Minister Videgaray said: “There is concern and irritation among Mexicans about what are seen as policies that could be harmful for Mexico and abroad.”

Mexico and the US are at odds over Trump’s plan to build a wall along their border and his attempts to pressurise Mexico into giving concessions on trade.

The US President wanted to renegotiate a two-decade-old agreement signed by Mexico, the US and Canada, claiming it had unfairly benefited Mexico at the expense of US workers.