Images of migrants in a caravan heading to the United States, from the city of Tapachula, on December 24th, impressed the world.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced on Wednesday (27) that an agreement had been reached with United States authorities to strengthen measures to contain immigrants crossing Mexico towards the United States. The announcement came after a visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to the Mexican capital.

The temporary closure of several U.S. border crossings, including two essential railroad bridges, was aimed at redeploying enforcement resources to deal with the record surge in migrants. This action has become a crucial point in next year’s US elections, however, it greatly harms bilateral trade between the countries.

López Obrador, in a press conference, declared: “This agreement has been reached, railway crossings and border bridges are already being reopened to normalize the situation. Every day there is more movement on the border bridges.” He praised the direct relationship established during the meetings with the US delegation, highlighting the good relationship with President Biden, who understands the complexity of the migration phenomenon related to poverty.

Also read: Trump wants drastic crackdown on immigration if elected

Last week, López Obrador pledged to help ease migration pressures on the United States, and on Wednesday he called on U.S. lawmakers to invest more in helping the poor in Latin America and the Caribbean “instead of putting up barriers, barbed wire fences on the river, or thinking about building walls.”

Regarding the recent increase in immigrants, López Obrador said Mexico is committed to working together to maintain the flow in an orderly manner. Details about the specific measures have not yet been released.

Biden x Trump

The migration crisis has been a source of criticism of the Biden administration, especially in relation to daily crossings, which have reached around 10,000 per day. The Mexican president acknowledged the increase in the number of immigrants, including Venezuelans, Haitians, Cubans and Ecuadorians, who face dangerous conditions on their journey through Mexican territories.

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Former US President Donald Trump, the leading candidate to face Biden in 2024, has promised to crack down on illegal immigration and restrict legal immigration if elected. During his previous term, Trump focused on building a wall on the border with Mexico. His administration built 450 miles (725 km) of barriers along the roughly 2,000-mile (3,200 km) border, but much of it replaced existing structures.

The meetings come after more than half a million migrants crossed the dangerous Darien Gap jungle, which connects South and Central America this year – double last year’s record – with many of them fleeing crime, poverty and conflicts in search of better prospects in the United States.

However, the issue of fentanyl, a powerful and deadly opioid, was little discussed during the meetings, despite pressure from the US for Mexico to intensify its efforts to combat trafficking of this drug. In turn, Mexico seeks tighter US control to prevent weapons from reaching powerful Mexican drug cartels.

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The negotiations highlighted the need to address the structural causes of migration, including poverty, violence, conflict and climate change. The issue remains a complex challenge, and the parties have committed to continuing joint efforts to seek long-term solutions.


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