Mexico will contribute $1.5 billion toward infrastructure at the southern border to improve processing and security, Fox News Digital has learned — a commitment that comes as Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador visited the White House.
Lopez Obrador is visiting Washington D.C., where he met with President Biden in a bilateral meeting. A source familiar with the talks said that the $1.5 billion had been committed by Mexico.
It comes as part of a bilateral meeting arranged after Lopez Obrador skipped the Summit of the Americas in June after disagreement over which nations were invited.
During that summit, the U.S. announced a host of commitments, including hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to refugee and migrant causes, extra work visas and expanded refugee resettlement.
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Mexico signed onto commitments of its own — namely in expanding its migration programs and launching a new temporary labor program.
On Tuesday, President Biden noted other moves made by his administration to secure the border, which has been hit by overwhelming border numbers — with more than 239,000 encounters in May alone. He highlighted joint efforts with Mexico to stop human traffickers, and an operation launched in April to stop smugglers of both migrants and deadly drugs like fetanyl.
“We’ve had a major anti-smuggling operation underway since April targeting human smugglers who traffic in people, drugs and weapons. Toward this effort we deployed 1,300 additional personnel, conducted 20,000 disruption operations, and we’ve made over 3,000 arrests, all since April,” he said.
Biden also called for more action from the region.
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“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 fifty three souls who died in a tractor trailer in San Antonio last month,” he said.
It tracks with the approach of the administration of viewing migration as a regional, not a U.S.-only challenge. That approach was promoted by the Biden administration at the Summit in Los Angeles, where Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris emphasized their focus on tackling “root causes” in the region and secured the signatures of multiple countries onto a declaration to work together on migration.
There, the White House announced that the U.S. was committing to offering 22,500 H-2B non-agricultural visas to Central America and Haiti, and to resettle 20,000 refugees from the Americas in FY 2023 and 2024 (a three-fold increase from this year), increase reunification programs for Cubans and Haitians, provide an additional $25 million for a crisis response program on migration and commit to a $314 million in funding via the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for humanitarian and development assistance for refugees and vulnerable migrants across the hemisphere.
The U.S. also promised to increase the resettlement of Haitian migrants, and roll out a new “Fair Recruitment Practices Guidance” for temporary migrant workers, which will be done in cooperation with major corporations like Walmart.
“This is just a start,” Biden said. There’s much more work remains to state the obvious. Every country needs to work together to maintain a humane, orderly immigration process; to invest in securing the borders, screening and registering migrants who enter their countries and repatriating those who do not qualify to remain.”