President Joe Biden spoke with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, with the Mexican leader saying the White House would send $4 billion to Central American countries.
López Obrador on Jan. 23 said that Biden pledged the billions to help development in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to stem migration from Central America to Mexico.
According to a summary of the call from the White House, the two spoke about a review of “bilateral cooperation on a range of bilateral and regional issues, particularly regional migration.” Biden also “outlined his plan to reduce migration by addressing its root causes, increasing resettlement capacity and lawful alternative immigration pathways, improving processing at the border to adjudicate requests for asylum,” and reversing some of the Trump administration’s “draconian” policies.
“The two leaders agreed to work closely to stem the flow of irregular migration to Mexico and the United States, as well as to promote development in the Northern Triangle of Central America,” the readout said. “They also recognized the importance of coordination to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In June 2019, the Mexican president signed a deal with former President Donald Trump under which Mexico agreed to take steps to curb illegal immigration. Trump, in return, withdrew a threat to place tariffs on Mexican products.
Over the past several months, López Obrador had refused to acknowledge Biden as the president-elect and also defended Trump after he was banned from Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.
“I don’t like anybody being censored or taking away from … the right to post a message on Twitter or Face[book]. I don’t agree with that, I don’t accept that,” said López Obrador, The Associated Press reported earlier this month after Trump’s accounts were suspended.
“How can you censor someone: ‘Let’s see, I, as the judge of the Holy Inquisition, will punish you because I think what you’re saying is harmful.’
“Where is the law, where is the regulation, what are the norms? This is an issue of government, this is not an issue for private companies.”
Biden, meanwhile, spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week, coming after Trudeau expressed disappointment that Biden issued an executive order halting the Keystone XL Pipeline. The long-disputed project was slated to carry about 800,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta’s oil sands to the Gulf Coast.
The White House, citing the call between the two leaders, said Biden acknowledged Trudeau’s disappointment with the decision.
“It’s not always going to be perfect alignment with the United States,” Trudeau said, according to AP. “That’s the case with any given president, but we’re in a situation where we are much more aligned on values and focus. I am very much looking forward to working with President Biden.”