Senior White House officials are visiting Mexico and Guatemala this week in a bid to curtail a surge of migrants at the U.S. southern border that is raising pressure for the Biden administration to take more aggressive measures.
The high-level meetings to discuss migration and development in southern Mexico and Central America come as apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border are on pace to hit highs not seen in 20 years.
“Expectations were created that with President Biden’s government there would be a better treatment of migrants,” Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said during his daily press conference on Tuesday. “This has caused Central American migrants, and also from our country, to want to cross the border thinking that it is easier to do so.”
The Biden administration is now leaning more on Mexico’s authorities to turn migrants back before they can reach the U.S. border. The government of Mr. López Obrador announced last week restrictions on nonessential travel across its border with Guatemala, a measure it said was to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
But a parade conducted on Friday by hundreds of Mexican immigration agents and National Guard officers near Mexico’s southern border showed that the enforcement efforts were focused on stopping migrants from reaching the U.S. before they come close.