The US ambassador announces that Mexico will strengthen security on the Isthmus to stop migration

The US ambassador announces that Mexico will strengthen security on the Isthmus to stop migration

The United States ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, has advanced a plan by the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador to alleviate migration on the southern border. The diplomat assured that the president, who in recent weeks has maintained contacts with his US counterpart, Joe Biden, and members of his cabinet, will shield the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the region that separates the Pacific and the Caribbean. “It’s part of the migration solution and it’s also part of the security solution,” he said in statements to the media. The announcement coincides with the pulse between the two Administrations regarding the participation of Mexico in the Summit of the Americas to be held from June 6 to 10 in Los Angeles.

“In the south, by the Isthmus: it is important that we set our sights there. As President López Obrador says, it is a forgotten corner. As I say, we in the US are looking south. Because if you can invest, develop that place along the Isthmus, with the [corredor] Transoceanic, there are the keys to solve the problems we now have regarding the flow of migration to the north”, said Salazar, who in recent days has multiplied the activities focused on that territory. On Thursday, the US aid agency, USAID, allocated 30 million dollars for job creation in the seven southern and southeastern states of the country.

Washington’s argument is simple. Everything that happens on the border ends up having repercussions on the northern border. And the migration crisis continues to grow. “In the Isthmus, for 300 kilometers, 180 miles, it is easier to see what is happening,” Salazar continued, than in the more than 3,000 kilometers between Mexico and Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. While the ambassador abounded in this strategy, which the teams of Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, have been debating for months, a court issued a sentence that leads Biden to continue with the rapid expulsions of migrants. This measure, known as Title 42, was approved by former President Donald Trump to tighten controls in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic under health pretexts. The White House planned to lift it at the end of May, but a Louisiana judge on Friday thwarted those plans.

The United States and Mexico seek to define a long-term immigration policy and the US Administration wants to leave behind the method of imposition used by Trump and open a negotiation with the Government of López Obrador. That was also one of the objectives of the Summit of the Americas. But the Mexican president made his presence subject to the formal invitation of the 35 countries of the continent, including the representatives of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. This was transferred to Biden’s special envoy for the organization of the conclave, Senator Christopher Dodd. Washington has not yet officially made a decision, although statements by senior officials suggest that it is inclined to exclude “countries that do not respect democracy,” as Undersecretary of State Brian Nichols told GLM.

With these premises, Salazar insisted that “the hope” of his government is that finally Mexico has a full participation in the summit. In any case, the foreign secretary and his team will travel. But the possible absence of López Obrador has a symbolic impact that the neighboring country wants to avoid. “Hopefully it will go, but that is something they are discussing,” said the diplomat.

Ben Oakley
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