International The migration crisis pushes relations between Mexico and the US to the limit

The official story defined it as a friendly meeting between two neighboring countries, but the evidence points more towards a slap on the wrist

International The migration crisis pushes relations between Mexico and the US to the limit

The official story defined it as a friendly meeting between two neighboring countries, but the evidence points more towards a slap on the wrist. The senior staff of Joe Biden's Government traveled to Mexico this Wednesday to meet with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and find a joint solution to the migration crisis that has triggered the arrival of undocumented immigrants at the doors of the United States. The Secretaries of State, Antony Blinken, of Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, and the White House Security Advisor, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, continued meeting with the Mexican leader at the National Palace in Mexico City while, in the south of the country, a Caravan of more than 8,000 migrants, continued walking towards the border with the United States to request asylum, further straining the conversations between two partners condemned to understand each other.

Throughout his six-year term, López Obrador has managed to maintain an ambivalent immigration policy that has confirmed him as a solid ally for the administrations of Donald Trump and Joe Biden. While, in the face of public opinion, the Mexican president defended a humanitarian vision, betting on tackling the crisis with investments in the countries that send emigrants, in practice, at the internal level, he has assumed his role as 'guardian of the border ' of the US, militarizing border security with 32,000 National Guard troops and agreeing to welcome deportees and asylum seekers into its territory. However, this complicity has been disturbed in times of greater migratory pressure, such as the one we are experiencing right now, with an average of 10,000 migrants crossing the border between Mexico and the US every day.

This "unprecedented irregular migration," as the White House defined it in a statement, forced US authorities to close the San Ysidro, Eagle Pass and El Paso border posts last week, a common pressure measure in these cases. which causes million-dollar losses for Mexican exporters. As revealed by the Employers' Confederation of the Mexican Republic, the value of the merchandise that had been stranded exceeded 2,000 million dollars. Through a statement, the country's largest employers' association urged the two countries to dialogue to avoid "discretionary measures that represent a strong economic blow for Mexico and undermine trust between both countries."

On the eve of the high-level meeting, López Obrador denounced in his daily press conference, popularly known as Mañanera, the need to reach an agreement as soon as possible since, "as there are elections in the US, the immigration issue is going to heat up. "Some use it as a flag and there are campaigns with the issue." Likewise, the Mexican leader maintained that, apart from finding joint solutions to contain the flow, he would encourage his American counterparts to withdraw economic sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela, as committed in the Palenque Accords, signed on the 22nd. October together with Nicolás Maduro and Miguel Díaz-Canel, but without the presence of the US, which was not invited to the summit.

For the Mexican president, the sanctions against Chavismo and Castroism are mainly responsible for the Cuban and Venezuelan diasporas. "We are going to help, as we always do, to reach agreements with the Government of Venezuela and to resolve the differences with Cuba (...) instead of putting wire fences in the river or building walls, it is more humane to invest in the development of the people," he assured. For now, the United States is resisting lifting these blockades, although it has offered more facilities to its citizens to obtain political asylum. More than half a million Cubans have left the island in the last two years, a figure equivalent to 4% of the total population, while Venezuelans represent the most common nationality of the Latin American exodus, with nearly 8 million according to figures from the R4V platform.

As recently revealed by Customs and Border Protection, more than 2.4 million migrants were intercepted by land during fiscal year 2023 (which runs from October 2022 to September 2023), an unprecedented number in the region. This trend has continued in the last months of the year. Between the last week of November and the first week of December, US authorities detained 53,016 and 69,462 migrants at the border respectively. Worried about the political cost that these record numbers may entail, President Biden has sent his first swords to Mexico to try to persuade AMLO to interrupt a migratory flow that reinforces the arguments of his Republican rivals, with just a few weeks left until start the campaign for the White House.