Home World News In Mexico, Biden seeks help for migrants and a stronger partnership

In Mexico, Biden seeks help for migrants and a stronger partnership

In Mexico, Biden seeks help for migrants and a stronger partnership

MEXICO CITY – The President Joe Biden came under mounting political pressure on Monday to deal with the surge of migrants entering the US illegally from the southern border, as he began two days of diplomacy in Mexico City with plans to win More help of Mexico to stem the tide of people fleeing to the United States.

Biden is also calling for more cooperation from Mexico in the fight against drug trafficking and the resolution of a dispute over the Mexican government’s financial support for its energy industries.

Biden kicked off those talks Monday afternoon with a one-on-one meeting with the country’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obradorthe second time the two leaders have met in person since Biden took office two years ago.

In remarks before their meeting, Biden said the United States and Mexico “must continue to build and contribute to democratic institutions in the hemisphere.”

Both countries, he said, are “in one of those turning points”.

Officials on both sides of the border have set modest goals for the summit of US leaders between Biden, López Obrador and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.

There are no agreements on immigration, for example, but only commitments to work in that direction.

But officials also said specific agreements in the brief meeting were less important than a larger mission:

cement the return of a US partnership based on cooperation and shared interests instead of the bullying and conflict that marked the Trump years.

Three and a half years have passed since the former president Donald Trump he threatened Mexico with far-reaching tariffs and nearly five years since Trump angrily ripped up a deal with the Group of 7 countries at a summit in Canada.

Now, with Biden as president, officials in all three countries are affirming a relationship harder it is critical to improving supply chains and overcoming economic headwinds.

Jake Sullivan, the administration’s national security adviser, described what Biden hopes to accomplish at the summit:

“A broader economic vision for North America that includes strong labor standards, better environmental standards, and as positive economic activity as possible.”

“This allows America to be the manufacturing powerhouse President Biden spoke of, but it’s also a win for Mexico and Canada, and it reduces our dependence on other countries and other parts of the world that don’t necessarily share the same values ​​as we do.” we share with our partners here in North America,” Sullivan said.

The lack of specific and aggressive action items frustrated some US business leaders, who supported him there are disputes economic between the three countries that need to be resolved soon.

“It’s not enough for leaders to unite,” said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“It is important to see transformative action and change in how governments work with the private sector.”

However, according to officials from all three governments, the issue of migration is high on the leaders’ agenda, even if major political announcements are unlikely to be made.

Conversations about migration are ongoing and a US official said the Secretary of State Anthony Blinken maintains regular contact with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Marcellus Ebrard.

The pandemic and war in Ukraine continue to wreak havoc on global supply chains.

Inflation and political instability have produced a food crisis of extreme proportions in Latin America and the Caribbean.

And the massive movement of people across the hemisphere continues to challenge governments across the Americas.

Biden has been criticized at home by Democrats and Republicans for dealing with record numbers of migrants at the Southwestern border.

Last week, the Biden administration said Mexico had agreed to accept a significant hike, up to 30,000 a month, of the number of migrants rapidly expelled from the United States.


From now on, the United States will deny people Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Haiti il possibility of requesting asylum and promptly returning them to Mexico.

US officials said on Monday that Biden could pressure his Mexican counterpart to accept even more migrants from other countries in the future, as the Western Hemisphere is rocked by one of the region’s largest mass migrations in decades.

The Mexican government, along with U.S. immigrant advocates, denounced a policy proposed by the Biden administration last week that would make it very difficult for migrants arriving from a “safe third country,” usually Mexico, to gain asylum. without first seeking refuge there.

On Saturday, Roberto Velasco, head of North America at Mexico’s foreign ministry, described the idea as a “red line for us” because it could mean an increase in migrants to Mexico.

Mexico has not asked the United States for any financial help to deal with the influx of migrants, believing that this would limit the country’s autonomy.

But López Obrador faces his political pressures in Mexico, where some feel frustrated by the large number of migrants from other parts of the region.

While announcing it would crack down on asylum claims, the Biden administration also said it would open more avenues for people to legally immigrate to the United States, a change Mexico was seeking.

“Obviously too lower the pressure on our systems and our country in terms of these large flows of people that we’ve seen in recent years,” Velasco said.

White House officials said Biden is also determined to address the issue of illegal drug smuggling, especially the vast flow of drugs fentanyl from Mexico to the United States.

There has been growing concern among US officials about the decline in security cooperation with Mexico in recent years.

In October 2020, without notifying the Mexican government, US agents arrested a former Mexican defense secretary after he stepped off a plane in Los Angeles, accusing him of working for a drug cartel.

The move angered the Mexican military and sparked such outrage in the López Obrador government that US authorities eventually released the official and flown him back to Mexico.

But the aftermath continued.

Mexico delayed granting visas to several Drug Enforcement Administration agents for months and took steps to make it difficult for agents already in the country to function normally.

A law passed in late 2020 forced foreign agents to share information with the Mexican government and stripped them of diplomatic immunity.

López Obrador, for his part, presided over one of the most violent periods in recent Mexican history.

Although the country’s government arrested Ovidio Guzmán – the son of notorious drug lord Joaquín Guzmán, aka El Chapo – last week, López Obrador has removed fewer drug cartel bosses and done less to dismantle organized crime groups than to its predecessors, according to analysts.

For David Shirk, director of the Justice in Mexico program at the University of San Diego, “the Mexican government is not giving priority to ending the supply of the drug problem.”

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Sullivan said Biden had “some confidence” that by the end of Tuesday’s meeting he would get a pledge from López Obrador “for more cooperation on the fentanyl issue.”

During their meeting on Monday, the two presidents also embarked on potentially tense talks about still looming trade conflicts between their countries.

Biden confronted López Obrador about the steps the Mexican president has taken to strengthen the dominance of Mexico’s two main state-owned energy companies:

the Federal Electricity Commission, or CFE, and the Pemex oil and gas company. US energy company executives believe the Mexican measures put US companies in a position of downside not allowed by the free trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada, signed two years ago.

Sullivan said Monday the administration could decide to formalize its grievances against Mexico if the two leaders do not reach a deal this week.

“We believe the consultations have helped clarify both the nature of US concerns and identify some possible avenues forward,” he said.

“But we haven’t gotten to that point yet.”

Canada has joined the United States in protesting Mexico’s energy policies, although it has increased its investments in Mexico in recent years.

But experts say Canada has little leverage over Mexico, and officials said Trudeau should tread carefully when lobbying for Canada’s business interests at the summit.

c.2023 The New York Times Society

Source: Clarin


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