Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told President Biden on Tuesday that the U.S. should “regularize” migrants living and working in this country, even though he said that conservatives would be “screaming all over the place.”
Lopez Obrador had been listing off recommendations on the question of immigration and the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. Lopez Obrador, who had skipped the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles in June, recommended to Biden that he increase temporary work visas to ensure there was not a labor shortage.
Lopez Obrador then appeared to turn to the question of illegal immigrants already in the U.S.
“It is indispensable for us to regularize and give certainty to migrants that have for years lived and worked in a very honest manner, and who are also contributing to the development of this great nation,” he said.
BIDEN, MEETING WITH MEXICAN PRESIDENT, URGES HELP FROM REGION TO STOP BORDER SMUGGLING
Although he did not explicitly say he was calling for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the country already, Lopez Obrador said that what he was calling for would spark outrage from conservatives — who have been furiously opposed to amnesty proposals pushed by the Biden administration and other Democrats in Congress.
“I know that your adversaries, the conservatives, are going to be screaming all over the place, even to heaven — they are going to be yelling at heaven,” he said.
Lopez Obrador continued to dole out advice to President Biden.
“But without a daring, bold program of development and well-being, it will not be possible to solve problems… it will not be possible to get the people’s support,” he said.
“In the face of this crisis, the way out is not through conservatism, the way out is through transformation,” Lopez Obrador added. “We have to be bold in our actions.”
Migration was expected to be at the top of the agenda of talks between the two countries’ leaders. Biden spoke about tackling fentanyl and collaboration to stop human trafficking.
“But as you know, Mr. President, we need every country in the region to join us in tracking this multi-billion dollar smuggling industry that’s preying on our most vulnerable, including the 53 souls who died in a tractor trailer in San Antonio last month,” Biden said.
There were more than 239,000 migrant encounters in May, marking a historic high. Migrant numbers, who have passed through Mexico on their way to the U.S., are likely to eclipse those in Fiscal Year 2021, when more than 1.7 million migrants were encountered.
The Biden administration has been focused on tackling “root causes” like violence, climate change and corruption in Central America. It sought to make it a top priority of the Summit of the Americas in June as well.
The U.S. offered a number of commitments at the summit, including more visas, more refugee resettlements, greater “reunification” programs and hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for humanitarian and development assistance for refugees and vulnerable migrants across the hemisphere.