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President Biden, Mexican president confer on migration, diplomacy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador agreed in a phone call Friday to do more to promote “just, humane and effective efforts to reduce irregular migration” at the southern border, the White House reported after their nearly hourlong conversation.

Lopez Obrador tweeted that the conversation was “cordial” and that they “spoke of issues of interest to the bilateral relationship.” The agenda also included the upcoming Summit of the Americas in June in Los Angeles, and the end of coronavirus restrictions on asylum seekers trying to come to the U.S.

The two leaders also talked about addressing the root causes of migration through development initiatives in Central America and Mexico, according to a statement from the Mexican president’s office. They discussed the need to guarantee safe and sustainable ways of life for their citizens and migrants, as well as expanding legal pathways for migrants and refugees.

“In view of the unprecedented flows of migrants from throughout the hemisphere to our two countries, the presidents reiterated the need to build stronger tools for managing regional migration surges,” the White House said in a statement.

Lopez Obrador, for his part, called on the U.S. government to invite all nations of the Americas to the summit “without excluding anyone.” The Biden administration has suggested that Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua are unlikely to be invited.

Both the U.S. and Mexico want to accelerate development and infrastructure projects along their shared border to continue strengthening North American supply chains and the cross-border agricultural and commercial activity, the statement said.

The meeting came at a moment of international and domestic tensions, as the war in Ukraine has contributed to inflation worldwide amid concerns about likely shortages of oil, natural gas and food.

Moreover, the expected end on May 23 of the public health ban on asylum seekers could trigger a rush of migrants to the U.S.-Mexico border. That would exacerbate tensions over immigration ahead of U.S. midterm elections to decide if Democrats retain control of the House and Senate.

By The Associated Press

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