(CNN) — The president of the United States, Joe Biden, welcomed the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in the Oval Office on Tuesday and told him that, “despite the exaggerated headlines that we sometimes read, you and I We have a strong and productive relationship.”
In this sense, Biden told AMLO that “we see Mexico as an equal partner.” And she added that “the United States-Mexico relationship is vital to achieving our objectives in everything: from the fight against covid-19 to continuing to grow our economies and strengthening our alliances by addressing migration as a shared challenge of the hemisphere”.
Biden said the US is committed to working to address the migration crisis with Mexico, noting, “Like us, Mexico has become a top destination for migrants.”
He then mentioned a series of steps that the two countries implement to address the root causes of migration. Among them, a commitment to increase temporary worker visas, which he called “a proven strategy that drives economic growth and reduces irregular migration.”
Biden and AMLO talk about commitment
Biden also highlighted efforts to curb drug trafficking and border violence, criticizing “a $1 billion trafficking industry that preys on the most vulnerable, including the 53 souls who died in a tractor-trailer in San Antonio on last month”.
“Today we will agree on our next steps together on all these fronts, because we know that we have to face these challenges together,” he insisted.
For his part, President López Obrador offered an exhaustive historical account of the Mexico-United States relationship, which dates back to the good neighbor policy of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration. He also noted that the two nations remain close, “despite our differences, and also despite our grievances, which are not easy to forget with time or with good wishes.”
López Obrador, who spoke for almost 30 uninterrupted minutes, recognized “difficult moments” and a series of challenges facing the two nations. Among them, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which he said “has not only meant pain and destruction, but also worsened the economic crisis.”
And, in what appeared to be a criticism of US gasoline prices, the Mexican president noted that Americans living on the US side of the border with Mexico have been crossing “to get their gasoline on the Mexican side at lower prices.”
“He had many important things to say,” Biden marveled, after López Obrador’s monologue, while citing a series of areas in which they must work together.
“I am not suggesting that they are not problems, there are real problems, they are solvable, as you pointed out,” Biden said, concluding.
a long relationship
The United States and Mexico have historically supported each other on a wide range of issues. But the sometimes strained relationship made headlines again when López Obrador decided that he would not attend the US-hosted Summit of the Americas, citing the country’s decision not to invite Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela.
The snub came at a time when the Biden administration was grappling with a growing number of immigrants arriving at the US-Mexico border following deteriorating conditions in Latin America, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Before his meeting with Biden, AMLO was received by the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris.
Harris has met with López Obrador repeatedly as vice president, amid her task of addressing the root causes of migration in the Northern Triangle. She has also hosted other world leaders at the vice president’s residence, including former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.