The Biden administration announced Monday that it had reached agreements with the governments of Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala for those countries to increase enforcement against migration toward the United States border.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the three countries have increased their numbers of police and troops in an attempt to keep migrants, including families with children, from making a dangerous trip north.
Mexico has informed the United States that it will maintain 10,000 troops at its own southern border, aiming to double the number of migrants that it stops from traveling north, Ms. Psaki said. Guatemala has added 1,500 troops to its border with Honduras and has set up a series of a dozen checkpoints along the route that many migrants take as they head to the United States.
She also said that Honduras recently “surged” 7,000 police and troops to disperse a contingent of migrants that had gathered to make the trip north seeking refuge.
“The objective is to make it more difficult to make the journey, and make crossing the border more difficult,” Ms. Psaki said.
The announcement of the agreements echoed several made by the Trump administration. In the summer of 2019, President Donald J. Trump agreed to drop his threat to impose tariffs on Mexico after the country agreed to send thousands of troops to intercept migrants making their way north to the border with the United States.
Ms. Psaki credited the work of Roberta Jacobson, a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, who has been serving as a senior border adviser on the National Security Council. Ms. Jacobson said last week that she intends to leave the administration, as initially planned, at the end of the month.
The Biden administration has repeatedly said that part of addressing illegal immigration from Central American countries involves working diplomatically to lessen the crime, corruption and poverty that often drives people to leave their homes seeking refuge.
President Biden last month put Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of the long-term effort to improve the conditions in that region. The agreements with the countries are an early test of the cooperation that Ms. Harris will need in order to succeed in that mission.
“These discussions are ongoing, over a period of time and take place at several levels of the government, both here and within these countries, Ms. Psaki said.