MEXICO CITY _ Mexico's top immigration official resigned his post Friday amid continued pressure from the United States that Mexico take a harder line against migrants.

A statement posted online by the National Institute of Migration said director Tonatiuh Guillen Lopez had submitted a letter of resignation to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The statement did not say why the director had stepped down, but there was widespread speculation that Guillen, an outspoken champion of human rights, had clashed with the president over his willingness to comply with U.S. demands.

Earlier this month, Lopez Obrador agreed to send 6,000 National Guard troops to Mexico's southern border and to house and feed more asylum seekers from Central America who have been returned from the U.S. to wait in Mexico while their immigration cases are heard.

Mexican officials agreed to the deal to avoid potentially crippling tariffs that President Donald Trump had threatened to impose on all imports from Mexico.

Guillen, the former head of an immigration think tank, was notably absent during back-to-back meetings in Washington where that deal was worked out. Negotiating on behalf of the Mexicans was Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.

In an article this week in El Universal newspaper, Mexican political reporter Carlos Loret de Mola wrote that Guillen was excluded from those meetings because he had clashed with U.S. officials in the past. According to the report, Guillen angered then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during a meeting in March when he said people have a right to migrate.

Guillen's departure reflects internal divisions in the Lopez Obrador government and in the country more broadly over how best to deal with Mexico's increasingly demanding neighbor to the north.

Critics of the deal Lopez Obrador struck with the U.S. say it is inhumane and unsustainable.

Mexico has already taken in more than 11,000 asylum seekers who have been returned from the U.S. while they wait out their cases, and that number is expected to rise in the coming months.


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