The president of the United States, Joe Biden, planned to hold a telephone call with his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, as the America prepares to address a surge in migration at the US southern border, triggered by the lifting of a COVID-era immigration restriction.
The White House has said that the two leaders on Friday “plan to discuss cooperation on migration, joint development efforts in Central America, competitiveness and economic growth, security, energy and economic cooperation.”
The leaders will also talk about the next summit of the americasthat the United States will host in Los Angeles in June and convenes leaders from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.
“I look forward to discussing our vision for the Ninth Summit of the Americas and discussing priority North American initiatives for the region,” Biden tweeted before the conversation.
This afternoon I am on the phone with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico. I look forward to discussing our vision for the Ninth Summit of the Americas and discussing North American priority initiatives for the region.
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 29, 2022
Friday’s call comes as the Biden administration is scheduled to lift on May 23 a public health order known as Title 42that allows the expulsion of migrants back to Mexico or their country of origin, without the possibility of applying for asylum.
The move could spark a race to the US-Mexico border. It has also exacerbated tensions over immigration ahead of the US midterm elections, which will decide whether Biden’s Democratic Party retains control of the House and Senate.
A federal judge has temporarily blocked lifting the rule and could issue a restraining order in the next two weeks that could delay the suspension beyond May 23.
Meanwhile, Mexican officials worry that the repeal of the measure imposed by former President Donald Trump will encourage increased migration and more profits for criminal gangs, unless the US does more to help mitigate the impact. .
The Trump administration imposed the so-called Title 42 Restrictions on asylum seekers in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic began to gather pace. Authorities said at the time that the ban was to protect public health, but immigration advocates he also saw it as a way to seal the border to immigrants, a longstanding priority for Trump.
“Title 42 is a relic of the Trump era that perpetuates family separation and prevents people from accessing our asylum system,” according to a letter sent to Biden signed by 50 progressive groups on Thursday.
“We implore you to stand firm in your decision to end Title 42 and communicate your plan to American voters,” the letter said.
The development comes at a time when border crossings are already at record levels. US border authorities arrested 210,000 people trying to cross the border with Mexico in March, the highest monthly total in two decades.
The total for March is a 24 percent increase from the same month a year earlier, when 169,000 people were apprehended at the border.
The meeting also came at a time of internal and international tensions, as the war in ukraine it has contributed to inflation around the world amid concerns about possible shortages of oil, natural gas and food.
The United States hopes Mexico will join in imposing costs on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine by helping to enforce sanctions on Moscow, a senior Biden administration official told Reuters on Friday.
On Tuesday, López Obrador said during his daily news conference that the White House had requested the meeting and that he was not entirely sure what the two leaders would discuss.
“It is important that there is this communication, listening to President Biden who has treated us with respect, as President Trump also treated us with respect, and we have to ensure a good relationship,” he said.
López Obrador is also scheduled to visit four Central American countries and Cuba next week. In Central America, he plans to speak with his counterparts about economic development and social programs that could lessen the pressure for people from those countries to emigrate. Previously, he has urged the US government to support some of his initiatives in Central America.
On Ukraine, Mexico condemned Russia’s invasion, but refused to follow the United States and other countries in implement sanctions.