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U.S. and Mexico hold transnational cooperative meeting to tackle migrant smugglers

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador met this week with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Mexico City and said the two sides came to “important agreements”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks in Mexico
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks in Mexico | EFE

December 28, 2023 5:17pm

Updated: December 28, 2023 5:17pm

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador met this week with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Mexico City to develop a new strategy on how to hamper the unprecedented levels of migrant flow pouring through Mexico and the United States.

The transnational cooperative meeting came as Republicans continue to levy pressure on the Biden administration to take control of the southwest border, which has seen unprecedented numbers of illegal border crossers since the 46th president was sworn into power.

U.S. officials said last week that an estimated 10,000 number of migrants were unlawfully crossing the border every day.

López Obrador said the talks went well and tweeted that the two sides came to “important agreements” but said little about how.

“This agreement has been reached, the rail crossings and the border bridges are already being opened to normalize the situation. Every day there is more movement on the border bridges,” the Mexican president said, according to a report published by The Guardian.

Blinken tweeted that the United States remains committed to rectifying “shared challenges” with Mexico including “unprecedented irregular migration flows,” illegal drug trafficking and re-opening ports of entry.

On the Secretary of State’s flight back to Washington, an unnamed senior White House official told reporters that López Obrador’s team shared their strategies on how to snare human traffickers and migrant smugglers who have been getting transported to the border on trucks and trains, according to a BBC report.

So many migrants began reaching the border and beyond on trains, U.S. officials shutdown last week, transnational railways between the U.S. and Mexico.

“We were really impressed by some of the new actions that Mexico is taking, and we have seen in recent days a pretty significant reduction in border crossings,” the unnamed senior official was quoted as saying by the Agence France Press (AFP) news agency. 

The official said the U.S. would “never draw conclusions based on day-to-day fluctuations” of migrant numbers and would continue to monitor the situation in the new year.

The two sides also vowed to promote legal “pathways”, while both delegations remained committed to “vital bilateral trade.”

Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena said the talks also targeted the “economic part” and the “structural causes of migration.”

Before the summit, López Obrador called for more transnational cooperation to address the migration problems originating south of Mexico and even warned it would become an issue in the upcoming U.S. presidential election next year.

That warning, apparently meant for the Biden administration comes amidst increasing criticism from former President Donald Trump who has scolded the White House for its lax policies at the border. He has also pledged to lockdown the border with enhanced security and border patrols if he is reelected next November.

The Mexico City meeting between López Obrador and Blinken was not the only summit involving the immigration crisis.

The mayors of three Democratic cities, Chicago, Denver and New York City who have been facing growing crises over exploding migration.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday also signed an executive order mandating bus charter companies to give 32 hours of notice to NYC officials of migrant arrivals.

He also implemented restrictions in terms of what times of day the migrant transport buses could arrive from states like Texas that have been relocating border crossers amid all the overflow in the southwest.

The Biden administration has faced unprecedented numbers of border crossers since the 46th president took office in 2022.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said last week their agency apprehended more than 190,000 border crossers in November. 

Just before the Mexico City meeting, a migrant caravan of about 7,000 people left southern Mexico Christmas Eve toward the U.S. southwest border. They carried a banner touting the phrase, “Exodus from poverty.”

As of last week, that caravan, reportedly made up of migrants from El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti and Venezuela is still an estimated 1,000 miles south of the U.S. southwest border.

Executive Editor

Gelet Martínez Fragela

Gelet Martínez Fragela is the founder and editor-in-chief of ADN America. She is a Cuban journalist, television producer, and political refugee who also founded ADN Cuba.