Sitting inside a truck at a checkpoint near Mexico’s southern border, a soldier is scrolling through images on a screen, looking for human forms hidden in cargo vehicles.
The scanning equipment delivering the images to his computer is part of Mexico’s new bid to stop undocumented migrants and human traffickers.
It is a crackdown that is about to get stronger, under the deal the Mexican government struck Friday with the United States to avoid President Donald Trump’s threatened tariffs.
At another checkpoint nearby, officers inspect minibuses and taxis heading north from the Suchiate River, the frontier between Mexico and Guatemala.
It does not take them long to find an undocumented family traveling in a minibus. They make them get off — a father, mother and three children, including a baby — and put them in a van with bars on the windows.
It is likely the first step toward deportation.
“We’re here 24/7,” one border officer tells AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
And the Central American migrants fleeing in droves from desolate poverty and brutal street-gang violence have begun to feel the impact.
Migrant detentions have tripled in Mexico since January, to 23,679 in May.