AMLO, Biden Discuss Migration, Security

U.S. President Joe Biden. Photo: Google


Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) had a 52-minute telephone conference with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday, April 29, to discuss the surging immigration problem along the binational border, just as the United States is poised to lift the covid-era Title 42 ruling that has blocked migrants from crossing into the country from Mexico since March 2020.

During the conference, which also included discussions on  security concerns, joint development efforts in Central America, competitiveness, economic growth, energy and economic cooperation, the two leaders purported laid the framework for the upcoming Summit of the Americas, slated to be held in Los Angeles next month.

Later in the day, White House Spokeswoman Jen Psaki called the conversation “constructive” and acknowledged that the main topic discussed had been illegal migration.

Meanwhile, after the call, López Obrador announced that he would not attend the Summit of the Americas and would instead send Mexican Foreign Relations (SRE) Secretary Marcelo Ebrard in his representation, who is due to arrive in Washington D.C. on Monday, May 2, to foreshadow the highs-level talks.

Both AMLO and Psaki said that the tone of the phone call was “cordial and friendly,” but there have been growing tensions between the two countries over Mexico’s refusal to place sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, López Obrador’s efforts to limit foreign participation in Mexico’s energy sector and the blatant attacks on media, women and human rights advocates that AMLO has been unable to quell.

Title 42 is a pandemic-protected measure imposed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the term of then-U.S. President Donald Trump, and which has continued under Biden.

Under that measure, the United States has automatically deported most undocumented immigrants who arrive at its southern border.

The CDC recently announced a plan to rescind Title 42 as of May 23, but a Louisiana judge suspended the rollback until May 13, when there will be a final ruling on the matter.

Meanwhile, illegal immigration into the United States from Mexico remains unchecked and numbers are only expected to increase if Title 42 is rescinded.

U.S. border authorities arrested 210,000 undocumented migrants attempting to cross illegally from the border with Mexico in March, the highest monthly total in two decades, and a 24 percent increase compared to the same month a year earlier, when 169,000 illegal migrants were picked up at the border.

The problem has become so dire in some parts of the United States that on Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Saturday, April 30, said he was considering declaring the flow of undocumented migrants across the state’s 1,254-mile border with Mexico “an invasion,” thus invoking war powers to seize broader authority. 

By officially declaring an invasion, Abbott would enact a clause in the U.S. Constitution that says states cannot engage in war except when “actually invaded.”

In that circumstance, Texas police would be able to arrest and deport migrants without consulting U.S. federal authorities.


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