Mexico shares Biden focus on migration's root causes, ministry says

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s team shares its vision of international aid and economic development for Central America to achieve orderly and safe migration.

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Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and Jake Sullivan, Biden’s pick for national security adviser, agreed during a video meeting that both governments will prioritize the structural causes of migration, the Mexican statement said.

Sullivan discussed border issues with Ebrard, a Biden aide said. Democrat Biden, who takes office on Jan. 20, has promised voters a more humane and multilateral approach to immigration policy than Republican President Donald Trump, who took a harder line than previous administrations.

“Attention to the structural causes of migration is a priority shared by the government of Mexico and by the next administration …” the ministry said in the statement.

“The vision focuses on the protection of the human rights of migrants and refugees, as well as on a regional response focused on economic development.”

On Dec. 19, Biden’s team said that he and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador vowed in a phone call to hone a “new approach” to migration issues that “offers alternatives to undertaking the dangerous journey to the United States.”

Border arrests reached the highest level in nearly two years in December, driven by coronavirus lockdowns and devastating hurricanes in Central America.

Mexican officials have signaled they will not relax tough enforcement measures aimed at stopping caravans of migrants making their way to the U.S. border. One such caravan is planned to leave Honduras next week.

The latest call was designed to start efforts to build a joint migration policy soon after inauguration day, according to two Biden aides.

The U.S.-Mexico relationship frayed during the last four years over Trump’s demands that the Mexican government do more to reduce the flow of U.S.-bound migrants.

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