Mexico-USA: Urgent Need for a Migration Agreement

The tragedy of immigration forces the two countries to abandon their agendas and seek an agreement to regularize it.

The bilateral agenda of Mexico and the United States contains many urgent matters, but none of them affects the daily relationship between the two countries as migration does. The border crisis, in which the U.S. authorities detain more than 7,000 people every day, has raised tensions with both the Joe Biden administration and Republican governors in favor of militarizing border controls. The situation has become unsustainable, making Washington want to establish a policy without further delay, for which they need Mexico. And if Donald Trump did it through imposition, Biden wants to negotiate a solution with his counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Reaching an agreement is not going to be easy because of hesitation by the White House, among other things. The Democratic government planned to withdraw what is known as Title 42 by the end of May. This regulation was approved by Trump in the midst of the pandemic to allow fast deportations, using health as an excuse. Republicans have used migratory pressure to try to discredit Biden and threaten to snatch Congress from the Democrats, but Biden himself is in favor of keeping that tool.

At the same time, López Obrador faces this phenomenon as a series of issues with the U.S. administration, ranging from security pressures to questions about his energy policy. In recent days, the two presidents spoke by telephone and Secretary of State Antony Blinken received a visit from Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard. They agreed on a joint plan to provide job opportunities in Central America to tackle the structural causes of migration.

On Thursday, the Mexican president traveled to the northern triangle of the region from where most of the migrants come. He did so with the promise of strengthening the protection of the southern border, knowing that everything that happens there ends up having an impact sooner or later on the northern one. But before the visit, López Obrador also accused the United States of sending millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine while still not authorizing an investment of $4 billion in Central America. The message was probably aimed more at his supporters than at serving a diplomatic strategy. But the daily drama that the migration crisis means for hundreds of thousands of people forces both Mexico and the United States to put aside their internal agendas in order to reach an agreement.

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