Migrants, drugs on agenda as Biden heads to Mexico

President Joe Biden at Andrews Air Power Base, on January 8, 2023, to journey to El Paso, Texas, after which on to Mexico Metropolis, Mexico.
| Photograph Credit score: AP

U.S. President Joe Biden will search Mexico’s assist tackling illegal flows of migrants and medicines, significantly lethal opioids, throughout a go to starting Sunday for a North American leaders’ summit.

Aiming to tame criticism over what he has known as a “damaged” immigration system, Mr. Biden will cease off in Texas for his first journey to a border overwhelmed by report numbers of migrants and asylum-seekers.

Additionally learn: Explained | Why are migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in record numbers?

The problem is nearly sure to high the agenda when Mr, Biden meets Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday, a day earlier than Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joins them for the so-called “Three Amigos” summit.

One other precedence for Mr. Biden is stepping up joint efforts to battle trafficking of fentanyl and different medicine behind an habit disaster in the US.

“Mexico is extraordinarily related and vital in coping with each acute points, which have turn out to be political vulnerabilities for Biden,” Michael Shifter, a senior fellow on the Inter-American Dialogue suppose tank, advised AFP.

On Thursday, Washington introduced that as much as 30,000 qualifying migrants a month could be allowed into the US from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela in the event that they arrive by airplane.

The quota can be restricted to those that have already got a U.S. sponsor, whereas these making an attempt to cross the border illegally can be expelled in coordination with Mexico.

The Worldwide Rescue Committee humanitarian group warned that the brand new measures “will solely push extra asylum-seekers into harmful conditions, the likes of which have already been seen within the type of mass kidnappings throughout northern Mexico.”

Flows of migrants fleeing violence and poverty of their international locations are a serious problem for Mexico, whose border has turn out to be a revolving door for individuals making an attempt to cross to the US.

Hundreds of persons are stranded in Mexico due to the controversial Title 42 rule applied underneath ex-president Donald Trump’s administration, ostensibly as a well being measure to cut back the entry of individuals through the Covid-19 pandemic.

On drug trafficking, Mr. Biden will search Mexico’s help stemming inflows of fentanyl, an artificial opioid 50 occasions extra highly effective than heroin.

Mexican cartels are main gamers in manufacturing and trafficking of fentanyl, which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) describes because the “deadliest drug menace” going through the US.

In 2022 alone, extra fentanyl was seized than could be wanted to kill the whole inhabitants of the US, in keeping with the U.S. company.

Washington is “making strides” with its companions to grab illicit opioids and different medicine, U.S. Nationwide Safety Council spokesman John Kirby mentioned forward of Biden’s journey, his first to Mexico as president.

“It is an ongoing effort. It isn’t one thing you’ll be able to ever take your foot off the gasoline on,” he added.

In 2021, the US and Mexico introduced a revamp of their battle in opposition to drug trafficking to handle the foundation causes and step up efforts to curb cross-border arms smuggling.

Lopez Obrador needs Washington to spend money on regional financial growth as an alternative of sending helicopter gunships and different weapons to tackle drug traffickers.

Mexico is suffering from cartel-related bloodshed that has seen greater than 340,000 individuals murdered for the reason that authorities deployed the navy within the struggle on medicine in 2006.

Additionally learn: Mexico nabs son of drug lord ‘El Chapo’ ahead of Biden visit

Days earlier than Mr. Biden’s go to, Mexican safety forces captured a son of the infamous drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who’s serving a life sentence in the US.

America had supplied a reward of as much as $5 million for data resulting in Ovidio Guzman’s arrest, accusing him of being a key participant within the Sinaloa cartel based by his father.

The timing was greater than a coincidence, in keeping with some analysts.

“When there are some of these conferences (between presidents), the Mexican authorities all the time have one thing to supply,” mentioned safety skilled Ricardo Marquez.

Local weather change and cooperation in clear power applied sciences may also be on the summit agenda, with Mexico hoping to learn from Washington’s efforts to cut back its reliance on Asia-based producers.

The purpose is to “work collectively to strengthen and develop North American provide chains for semiconductors, crucial minerals and electrical car batteries,” mentioned senior U.S. diplomat Brian Nichols.

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