October 1, 2023

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Mexico agrees to invest $1.5B in ‘smart’ border technology


WASHINGTON — Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador agreed to shell out $1.5 billion around the up coming two several years to boost “smart” border know-how through conferences Tuesday with President Joe Biden — a go the White Residence claims demonstrates neighborly cooperation succeeding in which Trump administration vows to wall off the border and have Mexico pay for it could not.

A sequence of agreements the two international locations hammered out as their leaders spoke termed for several other concrete moves, like increasing the selection of do the job visas the U.S. concerns, making a bilateral performing group on labor migration pathways and worker protections and welcoming more refugees. Both of those also pledged to carry on joint patrols for Mexico and Guatemala to hunt human smugglers together their shared border.

But the Biden administration hailed securing border funding from Mexico following yrs of unsuccessful makes an attempt by former President Donald Trump.

“Borders that are more resilient, additional successful, and safer, will enhance our shared commerce,” Biden and López Obrador said in a joint formal assertion. “We are dedicated like by no means prior to to finishing a multi-year joint U.S.-Mexico border infrastructure modernization energy for projects along the 2,000-mile border.”

The agreements arrived following López Obrador commenced the discussions by speaking for extra than 50 percent an hour as reporters seemed on. His much-ranging discourse touched on all the things from American drivers heading south for cheaper rates at the pump at Mexican gas stations to the New Deal politics of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He also chiding conservatives and stated the U.S. and Mexico ought to reject the “status quo” on the border.

López Obrador explained both equally international locations “should close ranks to enable each other” amid spiking inflation and border challenges brutally underscored by 53 migrants who died past month right after getting abandoned in a sweltering tractor-trailer on a remote back again street in San Antonio.

“Increasing inflation impacts the effectively-remaining of families in both of those our nations, and requires robust, rapid, and concerted motion,” the joint assertion mentioned. “That is why we have dedicated to jointly beat inflation by accelerating the facilitation of bilateral trade and cutting down trade expenses.”

While in the earlier he’s not shied away from U.S. criticism, López Obrador struck a constructive tone with Biden even though heaping praise on Vice President Kamala Harris.

“So content to be here at the White Property once far more,” López Obrador mentioned.

Biden was equally conciliatory, expressing, “I see, we see Mexico as an equivalent partner” and shrugging off variances of view on plan with López Obrador: “You and I have a strong and successful marriage and I would argue a partnership.”

That was a departure from previous month, when López Obrador declined Biden’s invitation to the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles soon after unsuccessfully urging the U.S. to include the leaders of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela — all nations around the world with anti-democratic regimes.

The Mexican chief also has named U.S. assist for Ukraine in its war with Russia “a crass error” and criticized the U.S. for shifting much more swiftly to supply navy funding to Ukraine than financial help to Central America.

Speaking of the migrant deaths in Texas — which involved persons from Mexico and Central America — Biden claimed “we know we have to meet up with these worries with each other.” He claimed the U.S. and Mexico concur on the have to have to increase alternatives for lawful migration, especially considering that much more staff can support reduce U.S. labor shortages and likely aid calm climbing price ranges.

“This is a confirmed system that fuels financial development as perfectly as lowers irregular migration,” Biden explained.

Immigration has been a political flashpoint for Biden as leading Republicans have pointed to a soaring number of men and women from Mexico and Central The us crossing the southern U.S. border illegally although slamming the administration and top rated Democrats for not carrying out more to gradual it. López Obrador acknowledged all those criticisms, but mentioned the circumstance at the border will have to have solutions, not just politics.

“The way out is not by means of conservatism. The way out it by transformation,” he reported. “Transform, not keep the standing quo.”

Tuesday’s was the next in-person meeting between Biden and López Obrador at the White Household. 1st lady Jill Biden hosted Mexican very first lady Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller during this spring’s White Residence celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

In the agreed on announcements unveiled Tuesday night time, the two Mexico and the U.S. pledged joint actions to modernize and improve infrastructure along crucial pieces of their border, increase legislation enforcement cooperation towards fentanyl smuggling and market clear vitality.

Biden also said that a “major anti smuggling operation” from fentanyl traffickers has been underway considering that April and experienced led to much more than 3,000 arrests, and that both of those nations would carry on to cooperate. In addition to the pilot system checking out far more avenues for legal migration, Biden mentioned that the U.S. has currently labored to expand visa applications for staff from Mexico and Central America.

In spite of wide arrangement on legal migration initiatives, even though, the Biden administration was much less clear about how substantially it urged Mexico to stop people heading by its territory to then cross into the U.S. illegally. That was a essential need of Trump and his hardline immigration policies.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who has been tasked with exploring the root causes of immigration throughout Latin The us, also hosted López Obrador for a Tuesday breakfast. Speaking with Mexico’s president exterior the Naval Observatory, which is the vice president’s residence, Harris referenced visiting his nation beforehand.

“The time that I invested with you in Mexico was so particular to me,” she claimed, noting the “friendship that has been so crucial to both of those nations.”

“She is our good friend,” López Obrador said. “But also a lady with concepts. An smart lady. Sincere. She is a partisan of equality. So I congratulate the American folks for the reason that they have a first get vice president.”


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