Blinken and Mayorkas Hold Talks with Mexican President Over Unprecedented Border Crisis

On December 27, U.S. officials held a meeting with Mexico’s President to discuss the unprecedented flow of illegal immigrants across the U.S.-Mexican border. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas gathered with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico. The aim of the meeting was to address the irregular migration in the Western Hemisphere and identify ways Mexico and the United States will jointly handle border security challenges as reported by the State Department.

President López Obrador expressed his willingness to assist and underscored the need for better U.S. relations with Cuba and Venezuela, which are also sources of migration. He also highlighted the necessity for increased development aid for the region. However, just hours before the meeting, Mr. López Obrador emphasized that the U.S. Congress should focus on investing in people rather than building walls to secure the border.

Both countries are under immense pressure to manage illegal immigration. Previous measures, such as imposing travel restrictions to Mexico or deporting certain migrants, proved ineffective in reducing the growing influx, according to officials. In May, Mr. López Obrador declared his readiness to receive migrants from various nations rejected by the United States due to noncompliance with regulations establishing alternative legal routes to asylum and other migration categories. However, it is apparent that the agreement, intended to curb a surge in migration post-COVID-19 pandemic, has not been successful.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported that November 2023 was the busiest on record, with a total of 242,418 encounters at the southern border. Nearly 80% of these encounters were with illegal immigrants outside ports of entry. Historical CBP data shows that prior to 2022, U.S. border officials had never recorded more than 80,000 encounters in November.

Drug seizures also increased from October to November, with a 35% rise in total drug seizures, including 55% in methamphetamine, 8% in fentanyl, and 22% in cocaine. Since the beginning of fiscal year 2024, CBP has documented 483,404 encounters. To address this ongoing border surge, additional personnel and resources have been deployed.

Global migration remains historically high in the Western Hemisphere and around the world as per the CBP’s report. A large group of migrants from Central American countries, Venezuela, Cuba, and other nations traveled through Mexico en route to the U.S. border just days before Mr. Blinken and Mr. Mayorkas arrived in Mexico City to work out new rules to manage the influx.

Mr. López Obrador expressed his willingness to collaborate with the United States but called on the Biden administration to send more aid to developing nations in Latin America and beyond. He also asked for the easing of sanctions on regimes in Cuba and Venezuela, which were the source of approximately 20% of the 617,865 migrants encountered in the United States between October and November.

“That is what we are going to discuss; it is not just contention,” Mr. López Obrador said at a press briefing on December 22 following a phone conversation with President Joe Biden. The aim of the meeting was to pave the way for the high-level U.S. delegation.

The situation at the U.S.-Mexican border remains complex and continues to attract significant attention from both countries. As the surge in illegal immigration persists, addressing the root causes and finding effective solutions is crucial for both nations.


Hot News