In a bid to address the escalating issue of migrants crossing the U.S. border, President Biden deployed top officials to Mexico City this week for a meeting with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Described as “productive” by the White House, the conference aimed to discuss ways to stem the flow of migrants and enhance border security.
The White House National Security Council released a statement on Thursday, acknowledging the efforts made by President López Obrador in taking significant new enforcement actions. However, they emphasized that there was still much work to be done. As a result, top officials from the White House will meet with Mexican leaders again in Washington in January to continue the discussions.
On Wednesday, Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State, and Liz Sherwood-Randall, the homeland security adviser for President Biden, made a trip to Mexico to engage in discussions with President López Obrador. The session extended beyond two hours, during which a senior official from the administration remarked that Mexico had devised a strategy to address the matter of migration.
An official noted that there has been a notable decrease in border crossings lately. They emphasized that the issue requires a collective effort, not just by the U.S. and Mexico. The discussions mainly centered on collaborative initiatives in the region.
In the talks, Mexico and the United States concurred on the importance of intensifying efforts against human smuggling. Moreover, Secretary Blinken and President López Obrador deliberated on “legal pathways” for migration, underscoring a mutual concern between the leaders.
Meanwhile, mayors of major U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, and Denver, expressed concerns over their capacity to accommodate more migrant arrivals. Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson emphasized the need for significant federal government intervention, stating that the mission would not be sustainable without it.
In response, White House spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández highlighted the assistance provided by federal immigration clinics, which have helped approximately 10,000 migrants apply for work permits. He also noted that work permit applications and Temporary Protected Status were being decided within an average of 30 days.
The situation’s urgency is evident, as Border Patrol processed nearly 50,000 illegal entries in just five days last week. In November alone, Border Patrol agents apprehended over 191,000 migrants who unlawfully crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. This month, as many as 10,000 migrants have been arrested daily at the southern border.