Lopez Obrador Speaks With Biden About Immigration Before Traveling to Cuba

The Mexican President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, had a virtual meeting that lasted 52 minutes. (Presidencia de México)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio/EFE, Mexico, April 29, 2022 — Reducing migration at the border was the main topic of Monday’s conversation held by U.S. President Joe Biden and his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. “The tone of the call was very constructive,” said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Psaki did not clarify if Biden made any concrete request to López Obrador to strengthen Mexico’s southern border and prevent the passage of more undocumented immigrants from going to the United States, but she wanted to distance the position of the U.S. president from that of his predecessor, Donald Trump (2017-2021).

“This was not a call in which President Biden was threatening the Mexican president in any way,” the spokeswoman said about the virtual meeting that lasted 52 minutes.

The figures show the severity of the migration crisis for both Mexico and the United States. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) recorded 7,800 arrests of irregular migrants per day along the border with Mexico in the last three weeks, almost five times the 2014-2019 average, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

From October 2021 to the end of February 2022, the CBP reported the arrival of 46,000 Cubans by land in the United States. The five-month figure exceeds that of the 12 months of 2021, which had already been a record (39,303), and some calculations estimate that after a year about 150,000 nationals from the island will have arrived on U.S. territory, more than the 125,000 of the Mariel ’Boatlift’ exodus.

This was not a call in which President Biden was threatening the Mexican president in any way.

The conversation between Biden and López Obrador “was scheduled in part due to the Summit of the Americas (to be held in June in Los Angeles), but also because the lifting of Title 42 is approaching,” Psaki stressed.

Title 42 is a protective measure that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) imposed during the pandemic in 2020, during the term of then-president Donald Trump, and which has continued under Biden.

This measure means that the United States automatically deports the majority of undocumented immigrants who arrive at its southern border, without giving them the opportunity to apply for asylum.

The CDC recently announced its plan to rescind that measure on May 23, but that decision now depends on the decision of a Louisiana judge, who suspended for 14 days the Administration’s preparations to end that regulation.

A source consulted by the AFP agency who asked for anonymity announced that the Summit of the Americas, convened for June 8 and 9 in Los Angeles, will address the issue of migration from Central America.

López Obrador will travel next week to Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize and Cuba. Meanwhile, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard will travel to the United States next Monday to advance issues of cooperation for development and the next Summit of the Americas, as reported in the publication.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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