President Joe Biden met with the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in San Francisco, California. The two leaders reaffirmed the U.S.-Mexico relationship as a consequential strategic partnership that spans the full spectrum of national and homeland security interests ranging from economic competitiveness and climate change to citizen security and migration management.
Recognizing the devastating effects of the fentanyl and synthetic opioid crisis, President Biden expressed appreciation for the full commitment President López Obrador has made to confront this challenge through domestic efforts, as well as bilaterally, trilaterally with Canada through the Trilateral Fentanyl Commission, and multilaterally through the Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats.
“We see it in our security cooperation. We’re working side by side to combat arms trafficking, to combat — tackle organized crime, and to address the opioid epidemic and — including fentanyl, which, when we talk privately, I want to tell you about my great conversation with Xi Jinping on that issue,” Biden said.
The leaders discussed ways the United States and Mexico can expand law enforcement cooperation as they combat the trafficking of people, illicit drugs, and arms, and dismantle the violent transnational criminal organizations that run these trafficking networks and terrorize communities.
“And as regards drug control, Mexico’s undertaking is to continue to support so we do not allow the introduction of chemical components and chemical precursors to fentanyl because we’re fully aware of the damage it poses to the United States’ youth,” Lopez Obrador said. “This is a matter of humanism. It’s an act of solidarity. We are sincerely committed to continuing to assist at our fullest capacity to prevent drug trafficking, namely the entrance of fentanyl and other chemical precursors.”
The United States and Mexico share the objective of making North America the most dynamic, competitive, and prosperous region in the world. President Biden thanked President López Obrador for Mexico’s participation in the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity.
Mexico is now the United States’ largest trading partner, with two-way trade in goods and services totaling $863.4 billion in 2023. This trade directly and indirectly supports millions of jobs in both countries. Cooperation between the two countries on regulatory alignment and supply chain coordination, particularly in the information and communication technologies and semiconductor sectors, is helping to ensure the United States and Mexico can take full advantage of economic opportunities now and in the future.
President Biden recognized the essential partnership that they have built with Mexico to manage unprecedented levels of migration across the Western Hemisphere. Concerning enforcement, President Biden thanked President López Obrador for sustaining his effective containment operations and joining the United States in repatriating individuals who do not have a legal basis through which to remain in both countries.
“And we — in our economic cooperation, we’re growing our economies from the bottom up and the middle out so that not just the wealthy benefit, but all our citizens benefit from our economic growth,” Biden said.
This is critical to deterring irregular migration to our shared border. The United States has conducted a record number of removals this year, and most recently restarted removal flights to Venezuela. The leaders discussed the need for all countries in the region to do their part to humanely manage migration, and they agreed to work together to address the actions that Nicaragua and certain private sector entities are taking to facilitate irregular migration for profit. The United States is currently exploring options within the legal framework to penalize this activity.
The leaders also discussed their joint commitment to address the root causes of migration across the Western Hemisphere and to expand lawful pathways for migration. On the topic of root causes, both leaders expressed concern about efforts to undermine the electoral process in Guatemala. On legal pathways, the United States and Mexico jointly launched a humanitarian parole process earlier this year for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans, and paired it with consequences for unlawful entry; nearly 300,000 individuals from these countries have come legally to the United States in the last 12 months under this initiative. This led to a dramatic and sustained drop in irregular migration at our shared border.
“In the past, there were no possibilities for people who needed to come to the United States — there were no legal possibilities open. And it is President Biden who opened up this possibility upon a request placed by Central America and the Caribbean countries. They file the petition and after an assessment is made, they’re allowed to enter the United States, which means that they no longer have to cross our country with all the suffering and risks such an endeavor poses. It’s a humane way to address the migratory phenomenon,” Lopez Obrador added.