Washington DC/Mexico City, Apr 29 (EFE).- United States President Joe Biden on Friday sought to work with his Mexican counterpart, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, on a common strategy against an “unprecedented” flow of migrants arriving at the border between their countries.
The two leaders held a virtual meeting that the White House called “constructive” and Lopez Obrador described as “cordial,” at a time when Biden is worried about the arrival of an unprecedented number of undocumented immigrants in two decades on the southern border with Mexico.
“The majority of the conversation was about migration and was about continued work on coordination, on economic coordination, on taking steps to reduce migration to the border,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said during her routine press conference.
The virtual meeting came just weeks ahead of the Ninth Summit of the Americas, to be held in June in Los Angeles, California, where the leaders are likely meet in person.
Biden and Lopez Obrador agreed on the need to create stronger mechanisms to manage the increase in the “unprecedented” arrival of immigrants to both countries, the White House said in a statement.
March saw a 22-year record in the number of arrests of undocumented immigrants at the US-Mexico border.
Border authorities intercepted migrants 221,303 times, 33 percent more than in February, according to data from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The nationality of the migrants who arrive has also been changing: 40 percent of those intercepted in March were neither from Mexico nor from Central American countries. Many arrived from Cuba, Nicaragua and Colombia, according to data from the same source.
Currently, the US automatically deports most undocumented immigrants who arrive at its southern border, without giving them the opportunity to apply for asylum, under Title 42, which falls under pandemic laws.
With six months to go for the legislative elections in November, the White House wants to avoid a humanitarian crisis on the border that could hurt Democratic candidates, and has been preparing a plan to tighten the border with Mexico.
With regard to the interaction between the two leaders, the White House underlined the current president’s difference of approach from that of his predecessor, as unlike Donald Trump, Biden was not “threatening the Mexican President in any way.”
The virtual meeting took place a week before Lopez Obrador embarks on a trip to Cuba and Central America, the countries of origin of many of the migrants arriving at the common border. EFE