Mexican president praises the “humanitarian” Biden for opening “legal avenues” for migrants

SAN FRANCISCO – Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador gushed Friday that President Biden was “humane” and “extraordinary” in opening new “legal avenues” for immigration, as the cost of hosting immigrants has forced New York City to announce massive cuts to city services. such as education, sanitation and surveillance.

“We want to thank President Biden because he is the first president in recent times to open legal avenues for migration,” the Mexican leader, known by his initials AMLO, said during a meeting with Biden on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific summit. Economic Cooperation Conference (APEC).

“It is a humane way of addressing the migration phenomenon,” he added.

“And I would also like to express and say that he is the first president of the United States in recent times who has not built walls,” praised AMLO, invoking outdated information, since the Biden administration in fact authorized 20 miles of new walls in El southern Texas last month after previously closing gaps in the wall near Yuma, Arizona.

“We need to continue supporting each other so that migration is an option and not an obligation. “We want to help people in their countries of origin when they are forced to migrate,” continued the Mexican president.

President Joe Biden listens as he meets with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative summit.AP

“In the United States we have an extraordinary president: a man with convictions, a good man,” he concluded.

AMLO already credited Biden in early 2021 with inspiring the rush to the border in his first year in office, which has continued unabated in the months since.

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“They see [Biden] as a migrant president, and many feel that they are going to come to the United States,” he said two months after Biden took office.

The reference to “legal pathways” described Biden’s “parole” program launched in January to allow a total of 30,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans to enter the United States each month pending subsequent decisions on asylum applications.

In the first six months, nearly 160,000 immigrants used the process, which requires background checks and a U.S. sponsor, potentially reducing their need for public assistance.

Migrants seeking asylum in the United States walk near a border wall while members of the Texas National Guard stand guard in order to inhibit the crossing of migrants into the United States.REUTERS

The parole program, which congressional Republicans maintain exceeds Biden’s legal authority, was launched as Biden administration officials increasingly allowed people who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally to await verdicts of asylum in very delayed procedures.

So far, the new legal avenues have not stopped illegal border crossings from continuing to reach highs, with a record 2.48 million apprehensions in fiscal year 2023, which ended September 30, a figure that does not include migrants who eluded the authorities. .

After the meeting, senior Biden administration officials said the two leaders would “continue active cooperation and…reaffirm their commitment to continue working on these issues.”

Instead of providing details about what leaders would do to counter staggering migration numbers, officials gave an optimistic characterization of leaders’ work on the “very challenging issue,” with one official saying they would “argue that our cooperation with Mexico The fight against migration has never been stronger.”

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Biden and AMLO also discussed economic and climate issues, as well as fentanyl smuggling through Mexico and into the United States, a senior administration official told reporters.

“It is a humane way to address the migration phenomenon,” said the Mexican president.REUTERS

Fentanyl has killed approximately 200,000 Americans since Biden took office and the US leader has been criticized by Republicans for not doing more to stop the drug’s export from China and its transit across the US-Mexico border. .

The discussion came after Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday and said later that Xi agreed to curb the export of precursors to the powerful synthetic opioid to the Americas.

The illicit fentanyl that ends up in the United States generally comes from precursors shipped from China to Mexico, where they are manufactured in illegal laboratories and smuggled across the southern border of the United States by Mexican cartels.

Biden discussed the conversation he had with Xi with the Mexican president and presented “any results that emerge from the president’s meeting to also work to address the challenge of precursor chemicals that are coming out of China.”

Before the meeting, AMLO told Biden that “we are fully aware of the harm it represents for American youth” and “we are sincerely committed to continuing to help in all our capacity to prevent drug trafficking, that is, the entry of fentanyl and other chemical precursors.

Pharmaceutical experts estimate that fentanyl is about 100 times stronger than morphine, and can be purchased cheaply and incorporated into other illicit drugs, often leaving its users unaware that they are consuming deadly chemicals until they It’s too late.

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The official said his discussion on fentanyl also included his “efforts to combat transnational criminal organizations, address the public health challenges of drug demand and also find ways to invest in communities to provide alternatives to crime and trafficking.” of drugs”.

Both spent “quite a bit of time” on the issue of fentanyl and added that addressing the crisis involves “not only going after criminal groups, but also addressing the importation of chemical precursors at ports.”

Officials said the job will also involve “going after the shipment [and] logistical corridors and pursue the financial and supply chains that feed and finance the operation of these transnational criminal organizations.”

“I also want to point out that in this matter we are dealing with a broad criminal enterprise,” said one of the officials. “Often there will be organizations that are involved in both human trafficking and narcotics trafficking and the two leaders talked about the need to really address this challenge in a very holistic way.”

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