Joe Biden did not discuss the southern border at his meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador during their summit in Mexico this week, with claims that there was ‘no time’ to discuss the historic crisis.
The topic of the southern border was kept off the agenda at the Three Amigos Summit in Mexico City, Mexico on Monday and Tuesday, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
It appears that because a private conversation between Biden and López Obrador went long, the following official meeting left the group with less time than expected to discuss the issue of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The pre-meeting talk apparently touched on migration and the border, but it’s not clear in how much detail they spoke on the matter.
The official meeting appeared to focus mostly on drug smuggling and supply chain issues.
Sources familiar with President Joe Biden’s official meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador this week say that the two leaders and their respective cabinets did not discuss the southern border crisis because they ran out of time
The trip to Mexico for the ‘Three Amigos Summit’ followed Biden’s first-ever trip to the southern border following two years of pressure from Republicans
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has repeatedly slammed Republicans for exacerbating the crisis at the southern border.
Biden is ‘trying to fix’ the border crisis, she said to questions over his solutions following his trip to the border on Sunday and subsequent meetings with Canadian and Mexican leaders.
‘As it relates to migration, irregular migration, obviously that was a key topic of discussion,’ Jean-Pierre insisted in her Wednesday press conference. ‘President Biden discussed ways our countries can continue to work together and to address irregular migration. So that conversation certainly happened, extensively.’
The president’s official meeting with López Obrador, known colloquially as AMLO, included more than two dozen of their top aides, including Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
Aides, officials and the two world leaders spent much of their meeting at the North American Leaders’ Summit discussing supply chain and drug smuggling issues, according to officials.
The elephant in the room of the southern border, however, was not discussed at all due to the time restraints.
Most Republicans would argue that the single largest issue Biden needed to bring up with AMLO and his Cabinet was solutions to quelling the massive number of migrants flooding the U.S. southern border by way of Mexico.
Biden met with AMLO (center) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (right) during the North American Leaders Summit in Mexico City, Mexico earlier this week
Biden insisted that he and AMLO discussed migration during a limo ride from the airport after his arrival in Mexico City.
‘We spent a lot of time talking about it,’ Biden said Tuesday during the news conference concluding the Mexico City summit this week.
AMLO also said the three leaders ‘did speak about migration in a very broad manner.’
He also indicated that there was friction between the leaders on the issue of migration at the southern border the U.S. shares with Mexico.
‘I’ve asked President Biden to insist before the US Congress to regularize the migration situations of millions of Mexicans who have been in the States working, living in the United States, and contributing to the development of that great nation,’ the Mexican president said.
Biden’s private meeting with AMLO came directly after his first-ever visit to the southern border as president.
A long line of migrants, mostly from Venezuela and Cuba, walk back to Mexico after being expelled from the U.S. under Title 42 on January 9
He went to El Paso, Texas to survey the physical border barrier as well as the border community. Several critics claim that because the city was ‘sanitized’ before the president’s visit, it prevented Biden from seeing the full extent of the crisis after he pushed off taking the trip for nearly two years.
The president’s visit to the border finally happened after immense pressure from Republicans for the president to crack down on migration as numbers reached new highs and showed no signs of stopping.
Just days before the trip to the border and to Mexico City, Biden announced new measures to address migration, which included a deal with AMLO’s government to expand humanitarian parole programs for Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan. It would allow these migrants to come directly to the U.S. from their home countries rather than travel through Mexico to illegally cross at the border.
AMLO lauded the announcement at a press conference, calling it a ‘light in the tunnel.’