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US, Mexico to hold further talks on migration next month

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (C), U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alicia Barcena during a working meeting at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, Dec. 27, 2023. (Presidency of Mexico via EPA)

The United States has agreed to keep the legal border crossing with Mexico open and the two countries will hold further talks in January.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador met for more than two hours with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other top U.S. officials including Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday.

“There’s more and more movement on the border, on the bridges, and that’s why we must be careful so that the crossings are not closed. That agreement was reached,” Lopez Obrador told reporters.

“The crossings for the railway and border bridges are already being opened to normalize the situation,” he added, highlighting the strong trade ties between the two countries.

He said the two sides had agreed to hold regular meetings to address increasing migration, which has become a major headache for U.S. President Joe Biden he enters an election year.

Earlier this month, overwhelmed U.S. authorities closed two rail bridge crossings on the Mexico-Texas border for several days to try to limit illegal entries on freight trains.

Legal crossings have also been suspended at several vehicle and pedestrian entry points in the states of Texas, Arizona and California to free up resources to address undocumented arrivals.

U.S. border police have in recent weeks reported approximately 10,000 crossings by migrants every day, many of them fleeing poverty and violence in Central America.

There has also been an uptick in migrants traveling through Mexico from Haiti and Venezuela.

Blinken’s unusual Christmas week visit came as the rival Republican Party pressed Biden for a migration crackdown in return for agreeing in Congress to support Ukraine.

Talks between Mexican and U.S. officials on securing Mexico’s help in stemming record-high migration to the United States were “productive,” but the sides have more to do, a U.S. State Department official said Thursday.

Obrador “has taken significant new enforcement actions yet we have a lot more work to do together,” the official said.

President Biden’s Cabinet will meet with Mexican leaders in Washington in January “to assess progress and decide what more can be done,” the official said in an email on condition of anonymity.


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