In a high-stakes meeting set for Wednesday, top U.S. officials are scheduled to confer with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aiming to bolster efforts in curbing the surge of migrants flooding the U.S. southwestern border.
While López Obrador expresses a willingness to assist, he emphasizes the need for progress in U.S. relations with Cuba and Venezuela, both major sources of migrants, and increased development aid for the region.
Amid escalating pressures, both nations grapple with the challenge of reaching a viable agreement, as previous measures, including travel restrictions and deportations, have failed to stem the influx. Recent statistics reveal a startling daily arrest rate of up to 10,000 migrants at the southwest U.S. border.
Complicating matters, the U.S. faces difficulties processing and accommodating the overwhelming number of migrants, prompting actions such as the temporary closure of key Texas railway crossings. Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggests the possibility of reopening these crossings contingent on increased support from Mexico.
Mexico has deployed over 32,000 military and National Guard personnel, representing 11% of its total forces, to enforce immigration laws. Despite these efforts, shortcomings are evident, as seen when National Guard officers made no attempt to halt a caravan of around 6,000 migrants passing through southern Chiapas state.
The American delegation, including Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and homeland security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall, seeks to address border security challenges. The focus includes discussions on potential solutions such as police raids to intercept migrants on railway cars.
As negotiations unfold, the interconnectedness of the two nations becomes apparent, illustrated by Texas railway closures impacting freight movement and grain transportation in both directions. López Obrador confirms U.S. requests for increased measures at Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala and emphasizes the importance of development aid and diplomatic actions, including a proposed U.S.-Cuba bilateral dialogue.
Mexico reports detecting 680,000 migrants traversing the country in the first 11 months of 2023. In a significant move in May, Mexico agreed to accept migrants from countries like Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba, who were turned away by the U.S. for not adhering to rules governing new legal pathways to asylum and migration.