By KELIN DILLON
In her visit with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris tackled a multitude of problems facing relations between the two countries, from drug trafficking to labor reform, which she addressed at a public press conference concluding her trip to Mexico and Guatemala.
The talks between the two officials were “candid,” said Harris, and the VP praised a “new era” of bilateral relations between Mexico and the United States.
Harris foremost highlighted the concern about a lack of security in Mexico’s ports and customs (which are, ironically, manned by the country’s military) that allow dangerous drugs such as fentanyl to travel into the United States from overseas, particularly sourced from China.
“We talked about agreements on security, smuggling, arms trafficking, drug trafficking, and we spoke specifically about fentanyl and the need for security in the ports of Mexico, which (AMLO) is working on,” said Harris at the conference.
The U.S. VP made note of the vicious opioid crisis that has been ravaging the United States for years, acknowledging that fentanyl trafficking into the country contributes to the manufacturing of opioids and thus the worsening of the U.S. population’s dependencies.
She also touched on the migration issue and her eventual trip to the border, noting the need for Mexico and the United States to help solve the crisis on why Central Americans want to immigrate north, rather than simply reacting to what is happening at the border.
Harris also addressed labor reform in Mexico, pledging $130 million from the United States to help assist with implementing the planned changes to the sector.
“We still have a lot to do in terms of equity and salary,” said Harris, mentioning how she met with labor activists and unions as part of her visit and the vast inequality in pay between races in the country.
Mexico and the United States are set to meet again in September to discuss further high-level economic investment and work on a new trade deal between the neighboring countries.