MEXICO CITY—Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador became an unlikely ally of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s migration policies, deploying thousands of soldiers across Mexico to stop Central American asylum seekers heading toward the 2,000-mile border.
Now, President Biden is preparing to undo much of Mr. Trump’s immigration legacy, while also facing differences with the Mexican populist over a range of other bilateral issues like security cooperation and climate change.
Cooperation with the Mexican president, despite those differences, will be crucial to managing the immigration issue, say political and policy analysts. Mr. Biden has pledged an immigration overhaul to provide a path to citizenship to 11 million undocumented migrants, nearly half of them Mexicans.
He also wants to end eligibility restrictions for asylum put in place during Mr. Trump’s years and terminate a program that required some 70,000 asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their proceedings are adjudicated in the U.S.
The shift in policy, which the administration says will result in a more humane migration system, has a potential downside: If done too hastily, it could spark a surge in migrants, which could prove politically disastrous for Mr. Biden, analysts say.