Biden and the Mexican President meet on migration and diplomacy | News, Sports, Jobs

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with Inspectors General in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, April 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and Mexican Andres Manuel López Obrador agreed in a phone call Friday to do more to promote “just, humane and effective efforts to reduce irregular migration” on the southern border, the White House reported after their nearly hour-long conversation.

López Obrador tweeted that the conversation was “cordial” and that they “talked about issues of interest to bilateral relations.” The agenda also included the upcoming Summit of the Americas in June in Los Angeles and an end to coronavirus restrictions on asylum seekers trying to come to the United States.

The two leaders also spoke about addressing the root causes of migration through development initiatives in Central America and Mexico, according to a statement from the office of the Mexican president. They discussed the need to ensure safe and sustainable lifestyles for their citizens and migrants, as well as to expand legal pathways for migrants and refugees.

“Given the unprecedented flows of migrants from across the hemisphere to our two countries, the Presidents reiterated the need to build stronger tools to manage regional migration surges,” the White House said in a statement.

López Obrador, for his part, called on the US government to invite all the nations of the Americas to the summit “without excluding anyone” The Biden administration has hinted that Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua are unlikely to be invited.

Both the United States and Mexico want to accelerate development and infrastructure projects along their shared border to continue to strengthen North American supply chains and cross-border agricultural and trade activity, the statement said. .

The meeting came at a time of international and domestic tensions, as the war in Ukraine has contributed to global inflation amid concerns over likely shortages of oil, natural gas and food.

In addition, the scheduled end of the May 23 health ban on asylum seekers could trigger a rush to the US-Mexico border. It would heighten tensions over immigration ahead of the U.S. midterm elections to decide whether Democrats will retain control of the House and Senate.

The Trump administration imposed the so-called Title 42 restrictions on asylum seekers in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic began to gather pace. Officials said at the time that the ban was intended to protect public health, but immigration control advocates also saw it as a way to seal the border to migrants, a longtime priority of the president of the era, Donald Trump. Mexico is seen as a key partner in managing the surge in migrant numbers once the ban is lifted.

López Obrador said in his tweet that Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard would visit Washington on Monday about “Development Cooperation Issues and the Summit of the Americas.

Prior to Friday’s meeting, López Obrador said of the planned conversation, “It’s important that there is this communication, to listen to President Biden who has treated us with respect, as President Trump has also treated us with respect, and we have to ensure a good relationship.”

López Obrador is also due to visit four Central American countries and Cuba next week. In Central America, he plans to talk to his counterparts about economic development and social programs that could reduce the pressure on people in those countries to migrate. He has previously urged the US government to support some of his initiatives in Central America.

Regarding Ukraine, Mexico condemned the Russian invasion, but refused to follow the United States and other countries in applying the sanctions. The Biden administration has imposed sanctions and frozen central bank assets in an effort to erode Russia’s military capabilities.

On another topic, the US government has voiced objections to controversial power sector reforms pushed by López Obrador that would favor state-run electricity generators over private power plants. A law to that effect has been passed, but a similar constitutional reform failed in the Mexican Congress last week.


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