The US seeks help from Latin America as immigration grows

Washington is attempting to gain closer cooperation with several Latin American nations. This is in a bid to deal with a dramatic increase in the number of immigrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, believed to be attempting to reach the US by boat, plane and on foot through the jungle.

Since last October, US immigration agents working in an immigration facility on the southern border of Mexico have vetted and detained over 640 immigrants from nations outside the Americas. This is according to Reuters, who have reviewed documents from the Department of Homeland Security. The immigrants often fly to Brazil and get fake passports, only to then be smuggled into Panama. They then head for the porous southern border of Mexico via Central America. Internal briefing documents and transcripts show that as many as 14 interviews were carried out at the facility.

These findings come as immigration data from Mexico show that 6342 immigrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East were caught trying to get into Mexico in the first half of 2016. This is a rise of 6126 from the 2015 fiscal year, and 4172 from the year before.

There have been increasing concerns over the possible security risks from immigrants who take the circuitous and unusual southern route. Several US immigration agents have been stationed at the Tapachula detention camp since October. They have investigated detainees with the aid of US criminal databases and are training their counterparts in Mexico on interview techniques.