Irregular migration has once again brought Mexico and the United States to the table. Senior officials from both countries met this Tuesday in Mexico City to study data on the migratory phenomenon to the United States and to propose strategies to discourage it. The meeting comes a day after Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and US Vice President Kamala Harris held a call to address the bilateral agenda, and also at a time when illegal crossings into the United States on the border with Mexico they are on the rise. The group of US officials was led by Jake Sullivan, the White House National Security Advisor and the Secretary of National Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, who were received by the Mexican Foreign Secretary, Marcelo Ebrard.
The United States has registered 1.2 million arrests of irregular immigrants since last October, while Mexico revealed last week that in the first seven months of the year it received a record number of 64,378 asylum applications from migrants. One of the concerns of the officials is in the increase of these figures in the coming months due to the economic recovery of the United States after the pandemic. “The most recent data on irregular migratory flows in the region were analyzed. The delegations agreed to expand cooperation in order to manage orderly, safe and regular migration flows with respect for the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers, ”explains a statement released by the Mexican Foreign Ministry.
The immigration issue between both countries has among its pending tasks the use, by the United States of Title 42, an exception in the law that allows the immediate deportation of migrants without any formalities, and that has been used in the context of the pandemic to avoid asylum procedures with those who arrive irregularly in that country. There are also the actions of both countries to provide security for the more than 3,000 kilometers of border that they share and in which Mexico has involved the National Guard – its new civil security body. As well as the migratory flows from Central America to which the United States has been paying special attention since the beginning of the Biden Administration.
One of the coincidences between the governments of Biden and López Obrador is the need to promote economic measures in the countries of the Northern Triangle of Central America –Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras– to stop migratory flows to the north. The US vice president had previously expressed her country’s interest in promoting measures for 7,000 million dollars to combat poverty and insecurity in the region. The boost to these countries has also been in the talks this Tuesday, as confirmed by the Foreign Ministry. “The US delegation (…) expressed their interest in working with Mexico to advance the management of the migration phenomenon from a regional perspective, as well as to implement cooperation policies for Mexico and the countries of Central America.”
Although communication between Mexico and the United States has intensified in recent weeks, the opening of the land border remains pending. The crossings are closed from March 21, 2020 for non-essential activities. US and Mexican officials did not reach an agreement at this latest meeting on its reopening. On Monday, Canada opened its border with the United States to visitors who prove they are fully vaccinated.
Mexico and the United States will hold the High Level Economic Dialogue in the coming weeks, focused on the trade agreement between the two countries (T-MEC), as well as a dialogue on security in which both countries will foreseeably define the future of their collaboration in this item, including the controversial Mérida Initiative. Biden’s adviser on National Security also went to the National Palace to meet with President López Obrador.
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