A high-level U.S. delegation is set to meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Wednesday, with discussions focused on finding solutions to stem the surge of migrants reaching the southwestern border states, including Arizona.
President López Obrador has expressed willingness to help address the issue but has also emphasized the need for progress in U.S. relations with Cuba and Venezuela, which are major sources of migrants. He has also called for increased development aid for the region. Both sides are facing pressure to come to an agreement, as previous measures to limit direct travel into Mexico and deport some migrants have not effectively curbed the influx. This month, as many as 10,000 migrants were being arrested daily at the southwest U.S. border.
The United States is struggling with processing and housing thousands of migrants at the border, impacting Mexican industries and causing disruptions at vital Texas railway crossings. This led to the U.S. temporarily closing these crossings, advocating for increased assistance from Mexico. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has indicated that the reopening of key ports of entry across the shared border could be facilitated if Mexico provides more help.
Mexico has reported detecting 680,000 migrants moving through the country in the first 11 months of 2023. The country has also deployed over 32,000 military troops and National Guard officers to enforce immigration laws, but recent events, such as a caravan of about 6,000 migrants passing through Mexico’s immigration inspection point without any attempt to stop them, highlight the challenges faced by the authorities.
The tactic of wearing migrants out, once thought effective, is proving to no longer work. As a result, the Mexican railway system has suspended trains due to safety concerns, demonstrating the extent of the issue. At an improvised shelter in Mexico City, migrants are gathering strength before continuing north, highlighting the urgency of the situation.
López Obrador has confirmed that U.S. officials seek Mexico’s cooperation in blocking migrants at its southern border with Guatemala or containing their movement across Mexico. In exchange, he is calling for increased development aid to migrants’ home countries and reduced or eliminated sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela.
The meeting between U.S. and Mexican officials also touches on bilateral dialogues, asylum rules, and the potential for Mexico to take in migrants from countries such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba.
The ongoing discussions between the U.S. and Mexico underscore the need for collaborative efforts to address the migration crisis and its broader implications for both countries.