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U.S., Mexico, Guatemala to deepen cooperation on migration

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published February 29,2024
People camp as they wait to cross the border between Mexico and the United States in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on December 27, 2023. (AA Photo)

Senior officials from Mexico, the U.S. and Guatemala met Wednesday in Washington, D.C. to discuss regional migration, agree on a trilateral plan to address its structural causes and explore legal avenues for labor mobility.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Homeland Security Advisor Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall welcomed Guatemalan Foreign Minister Carlos Ramiro Martinez and Interior Minister Francisco Jimenez and Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Barcenas.

The meeting was historic in bringing representatives of the three governments together.

In a joint statement, the three delegations pledged to expand access to labor mobility pathways as a strategic response to migration challenges in the region, strengthen joint law enforcement efforts, including working collectively to investigative and prosecute human trafficking and migrant smuggling networks, and uphold international human rights and protection standards at the borders of the three countries.

During his morning press conference, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador spoke about the growing pressure from U.S. officials for more drastic measures to control migration.

"They are discussing, for example, closing the border. Imagine how long we would last with the border closed. We are main economic trading partners in the world. This is nonsense because it is not reasonable. It is not convenient for the people of the United States, nor for us, nor for anyone," he said.

U.S. President Joe Biden has threatened to shut the border with Mexico since Decembe following a dramatic increase in migrants crossing the shared border.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in January, authorities reported 176,205 encounters with migrants in the southwestern border region, the main point of entry for irregular migrants from Latin America. The figures reported by the CBP marked a drop in migrant flows compared to December, when migration officials reported 252,315 encounters.

The three delegations also announced that they would promote investments in Guatemala that would increase economic productivity, boost supply chains between the three countries and create jobs in the region.