US President Joseph Biden and his Mexican colleague Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) were reported Friday to have had a very constructive and cordial telephone conversation, according to White House sources.
This was a very constructive and cordial call, in no way did President Biden want to threaten the President of Mexico over the increasing migratory flow across the southern border, reporters were told by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who also pointed out the two leaders had spoken for little over 50 minutes, during which they discussed the situation at the southern border of the United States, caused by the lifting of immigration restrictions imposed by former President Donald Trump during the COVID-19 crisis.
They also reviewed competitiveness and economic growth, security, energy, and economic cooperation, in addition to preparations for the upcoming Summit of the Americas in June in Los Angeles, California, which will bring together leaders from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.
Friday's call came just days after a federal judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security to halt its efforts to lift a public health order known as Title 42, dating back to the Trump era and which provides for the rapid removal of migrants at the border to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Biden administration intended to end the public health order on May 23, thus facing Republican opposition ahead of the November primaries and subsequent mid-term elections.
Around 8,000 migrants a day are currently crossing the southern border, and it is feared some 12,000 would do so if Title 42 is lifted. About half of the migrants discovered are turned back across the border and prevented from applying for asylum. If Title 42 is lifted, migrants would be allowed to live in the United States while they file asylum claims, a process that can take two to four years.
The Biden administration has also sought to end a Trump policy known as Remain in Mexico, which requires asylum seekers at the southern border, primarily from Central and South America, to wait in Mexico while their applications are decided.