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Mexico and US Strike Key Agreements in Bilateral Talks Focused on Migration and Trade

Published December 29, 2023
7 months ago

In a significant move aimed at tackling pressing issues of migration and trade, Mexico has announced the achievement of "important" agreements with the United States, following a series of talks spearheaded by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena.


The talks, which were held behind closed doors, saw US officials, including Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, deliberate on strategies to manage the surge in migration—a critical point of concern for American voters as the US presidential elections draw near. The Biden administration is closely working with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's government to mitigate the challenges stemming from a record high number of migrants attempting entry into the US via Mexico.


On social media, President Lopez Obrador praised the results of the discussions with his American counterparts. However, he refrained from delving into the specifics of the deals brokered during these interactions. Instead, he underscored the broad agenda of the meetings that covered cooperation on migration, the economy, and security matters.


The talks arrive amid alarming figures illustrating more than half a million individuals traversing the perilous Darien Gap this year alone—a jungle corridor that links South America with Central America—representing double the previous year's record, with many in search of better opportunities in the US.


Recently, US border authorities instigated a temporary closure of vital rail crossings between the two countries to redistribute enforcement resources in response to spiking migration rates. Mexican officials, like Barcena, have since highlighted the swift reopening of these crossings as a high priority for Mexico, emphasizing the economic implications and the need to tackle the root causes of migration.


The meetings drew upon President Lopez Obrador's commitments last week to alleviate migratory pressures on the US, with the Mexican leader urging US lawmakers to invest in aiding impoverished regions in Latin America and the Caribbean—as opposed to resorting to physical barriers—as a means to address the situation.


The dialogue between Mexico and the United States stands in stark contrast to the immigration policies of former US President Donald Trump, who has indicated intentions of reinforcing the crackdown on both illegal and legal immigration should he be elected again. Trump's earlier tenure focused on the construction of a border wall, with roughly 725km of barriers erected along the extensive 3,200km border, largely replacing existing structures.


Mayorkas described the meeting with Mexican officials as "very productive," emphasizing the need for regional strategies to combat the challenge of migration.


Amidst these high-level talks, throngs of migrants and asylum-seekers continue their northbound journey, hoping to reach the safety and prospects of the US. Among them is Venezuelan mother Nohemia Zendejas, embarking on the arduous voyage with her four children, a testament to the dire circumstances compelling individuals to flee their homeland.



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