Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador is taking in non-Mexican migrants and asylum-seekers who have been turned away by the US at its southern border. This allows President Biden to expel those migrants whom the US officials have struggled to deport for diplomatic or logistical reasons. This agreement also allows Biden to follow through on his vow to apply “consequences” to those who enter the US illegally instead of using legal migration pathways. The Mexican government provided reassurance in a joint statement with the Biden administration that this policy will continue even after the pandemic public health emergency declaration Title 42 has lapsed.
What is the significance of this US Mexico border development?
President Obrador’s promise is part of a larger plan hatched between the US and Mexico in an effort to help manage the surge in migration expected at the US-Mexico border with Title 42 ending. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Title 42 has allowed the US to turn away hundreds of thousands of migrants to their home countries — or to Mexico — without giving them a chance to seek asylum. Mexico has accepted not only Mexican citizens, but those from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, and, since January, citizens from Nicaragua, Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela. In this most recent announcement, Mexico states that for “humanitarian reasons,” they will continue to take in migrants who are turned away at the US under expedited removal.
The other key items in the US/ Mexican plan include:
- efforts to counter human smugglers
- enhanced work in Central America to address the root causes of migration and expand legal pathways; Specifically, Mexico and the United States will redouble their development efforts that focus on people-to-people support.
- an intention for the US to welcome as many as 100,000 individuals from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador under the family reunification parole processes that Secretary Mayorkas recently announced
- a commitment to modernize the 2000-mile shared border between the US and Mexico; President Biden has approved moving forward on a Presidential Permit to advance the expansion of Calexico East Land Port of Entry to facilitate legal trade and travel
This joint statement demonstrates the prominent role of the Mexican government in the US’ effort to stem migration at the southern border as it braces for what’s expected to be a massive spike in illegal crossings as Title 42 sunsets. The Biden administration has projected that over 10,000 migrants will enter border custody each day now that Title 42 has ended.
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