Mexico’s president will visit the White House on Tuesday, less than a month after turning down an offer to a US-hosted meeting aimed at forging regional agreement on how to reduce migrant border crossings, which are putting strain on the Biden administration.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador missed the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles to protest Biden’s decision to exclude Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua’s leftist administrations. 

Instead, Lopez Obrador chose to visit Biden in July, maintaining that ties between the two governments were still excellent and that during discussions he would try to make it easier for Mexicans to work in the US and to assist manage migration.

A senior US source confirmed that there was “exasperation” in certain areas of the US administration about Lopez Obrador’s absence from the conference. However, the visit demonstrated that the two administrations had “already turned the page,” according to the source.

In preparation for the conference, Mexico’s interior minister said on June 22 that the US had agreed to grant 300,000 work visas, with around half going to Mexicans and the remainder going to Central Americans.

However, Mexican officials have subsequently told Reuters that they are doubtful of a specific US commitment, pointing to apprehension within the Biden administration that this may expose it to Republican criticism on immigration.

A senior administration official briefing reporters on Monday evening said that after the meeting, the two nations will launch a bilateral working group on “labor, migration pathways and worker protections” as well as improve migration cooperation.

Addressing another source of US-Mexico tensions, the White House meetings are likely to make “some progress” in addressing issues that US corporations have encountered in Mexico’s energy sector, according to a senior administration official.

Mexican and US officials will also announce the formation of a task force to combat the flow of fentanyl into both nations, as well as their commitment to complete a border infrastructure renovation program.

Lopez Obrador was scheduled to meet with US Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden’s point person for attempts to address the “root causes” of migration, on Tuesday before meeting with Biden in the Oval Office.

He will attend a conference of Mexican and American business leaders on Wednesday morning before flying home.

Source: Reuters

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