Dec 5, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden is heading south of the border

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House in 2021. Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden is planning to head to Mexico City next month for his first scheduled foreign trip of 2023, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: White House officials know they need a better political — and policy — response to stem the flow of illegal migration across America’s southern border, but there aren’t any easy solutions at hand.

  • Convincing Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to increase security on his own southern border to interdict migrants from Central America is one potential solution.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also expected to attend this year's North American Leaders' Summit, sometimes known as the Three Amigos Summit.
  • Republicans will continue to hammer Biden for the record high number of border apprehensions and call on him to make a trip to see the border for himself in person.

The intrigue: AMLO, as the Mexican president is known, snubbed President Biden by not attending the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles last summer, in protest of the administration’s decision not to invite leaders from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Flashback: After President Trump threatened to shut down the border with Mexico in 2019, the Mexican government said it would send 6,000 troops to the country’s southern border with Guatemala.

  • Mexico has continued cooperating with the Biden administration to take back migrants and asylum seekers expelled under pandemic-era border policies and Venezuelans impacted by a new parole process.

The big picture: The Biden administration is discussing a range of options, some with echoes of the Trump administration, to prepare for the scheduled end of the pandemic-era Title 42 border policy on Dec. 21.

  • While contemplating more prosecution for illegal border crossing, Biden officials are also considering how they can expand legal avenues for migrants and asylum seekers.
  • Some of the options being considered would likely rely on Mexico's willingness to hold more migrants being kicked back by the U.S.
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