Mexico’s president rolls Biden, gives US worse than nothing on border


The White House sent Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador Wednesday, hoping to obtain his assistance in slowing the wave of migrants crossing through his country on their way to ours.

The resulting “Joint Communique” from that parley reveals Mexico City has no interest in assisting an administration that won’t secure US borders.

The trip itself, scheduled during a holiday week when little gets done in either capital, reeked of desperation, and nothing in that communiqué dispels the stench.

President Biden is confronted with polling that shows his immigration and border policies are wildly unpopular with a solid majority of voters — while he’s also attempting to appease the progressive wing of his own party, which refuses to budge in Senate talks on border fixes.

That political battle is playing out while thousands of migrants from all over the world pour illegally across the most desolate sections of the southwest border daily, overwhelming the beleaguered Border Patrol agents his administration has consistently derided and undermined.

The president’s only hope was for AMLO to bail out his failing policies by agreeing to control the flow of migrants passing through Mexico to the United States.

His Mexican counterpart — a “fiery populist” — refused.

That’s why the readout from that meeting is heavy on platitudes but unbearably light on substance.

Read between the lines, however, and a much darker message appears.

The communiqué says the meeting “reinforc[ed] our partnership to address the root causes of migration, such as poverty, inequality, democratic decline and violence.”

That’s code for AMLO’s attempt to put the squeeze on US taxpayers for even more international aid to countries like Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela, which will inevitably just feed the very corruption it’s supposed to combat.

Then there’s the part where the two “delegations also discussed the benefit of regularizing the situation of long-term undocumented Hispanic migrants and DACA recipients, who are a vital part of the U.S. economy and society.”

That’s code for a massive amnesty benefiting millions of Mexican nationals living here illegally.

That would not just be good for those aliens — it would provide a massive shot in the arm to the Mexican economy, which received an estimated $55.9 billion in remittances from the United States in 2022.

In October, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas concluded the average monthly remittance to Mexico from the 11 million “Mexican migrants” living here was $390 per month.

Imagine how much more would flow into the Mexican government’s coffers if they all could work here legally.

One major US concession was omitted from the joint communiqué, however.

At a Thursday morning press conference, AMLO crowed that “rail crossings and the border bridges” between the two countries, which had been closed so officers could assist Border Patrol agents with migrant processing, “are already being opened.”

According to the US Trade Representative, the United States had a $131.1 billion trade deficit with Mexico in 2022, and the Dallas Fed has reported Mexico became our largest trading partner in 2023.

Our economy may suffer when those ports are closed, but Mexico’s reels, and consequently AMLO is the biggest winner when they reopen.

Unlike his successor, President Donald Trump was willing to wield our economic power to force border concessions out of Mexico.

Until President Biden follows Trump’s lead and adopts at least some of his effective migrant policies, the border crisis will continue, and the White House will be forced to issue more even more pusillanimous “joint communiqués.”

Andrew Arthur is the Center for Immigration Studies’ resident fellow in law and policy.

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