Dec 20, 2020 - World

Biden and Mexico's López Obrador discuss "new approach" to migration issues

Combination images of President-elect Joe Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador
Combination images of President-elect Joe Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: Hector Vivas/Getty Images/Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador discussed in a phone call Saturday working together on a "new approach" to migration that "offers alternatives to undertaking the dangerous journey" to the U.S.

Why it matters: The statement from Biden's transition team on the call details represents a key part of the president-elect's plans to overhaul President Trump's aggressive border policy.

  • Biden has vowed to end Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy that saw tens of thousands of asylum-seekers forced to wait for their court dates in Mexico, but Axios' Stef Kight notes this faces complications, including a possible spike of migrants at the border.
  • The transition team said in its statement that Biden reiterated in the call that he "stands by the commitments he made on the campaign trail and noted that it would take time and resources to implement those commitments effectively."

Details: "The President-elect emphasized the need to reinvigorate U.S.-Mexico cooperation to ensure safe and orderly migration, contain COVID-19, revitalize the economies of North America, and secure our common border," the transition statement said.

  • "The two leaders noted a shared desire to address the root causes of migration in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and southern Mexico and to build a future of greater opportunity and security for the region."
  • Biden said he'd work closely with Mexico and other regional partners in the early months of his administration "to build the regional and border infrastructure and capacity needed to facilitate a new orderly and humane approach to migration that will respect international norms regarding the treatment of asylum claims," the statement added.

What they're saying: "We reaffirmed our commitment to working together for the wellbeing of our peoples and nations," Lopez Obrador said in a Twitter post.

  • Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard, who was present during the call, tweeted that the conversation was "cordial," adding there would "be extensive bilateral cooperation and a very good relationship between" López Obrado and Biden.

Worth noting: López Obrador was one of the last holdouts among major world leaders to congratulate Biden's election win as Trump's legal challenges played out. He confirmed last Tuesday that he'd sent the president-elect a letter.

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