Mexico, US vow to expand cooperation to address immigration in high-level talks

Published : 11 Aug 2021 08:02 PM

Reuters, Mexico City 

Top Mexican and United States officials discussed increasing bilateral cooperation to address immigration during a meeting in Mexico City, the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard met in Mexico City with US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and the National Security Council's senior director for the Western Hemisphere, Mr Juan Gonzalez.

"The delegations agreed to expand cooperation in order to manage orderly, safe and regular migration flows with respect for the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers," the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement following the meeting.

After the gathering, Mr Ebrard said on Twitter that Mexico's relationship with the US was "going very well" and that the meeting had been "productive".

At a news conference earlier in the day, Mr Ebrard said the talks would encompass efforts to reopen the US-Mexico border, as well as measures being put forward by the US aimed at containing immigration from Central America.

The talks came after Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador spoke to US Vice-President Kamala Harris on Monday, discussing migration, the fight against Covid-19 and the need to strengthen Central American economies.

During their call, the US agreed to send Mexico 3.5 million doses of drugmaker Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine and up to 5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, Mr Ebrard said, noting that the vaccines would likely arrive in August.

Mr Ebrard added that he did not expect the US-Mexico land border to reopen by Aug 21, and that more time would be needed to resume transit for so-called non-essential trips, including for those who cross the border to work or attend school.

Speaking at the news conference, Mr Lopez Obrador said that Ms Harris agreed with him on the need to reopen their shared land border, but did not provide a specific timetable.

Mr Ebrard said Mr Lopez Obrador and Ms Harris had also discussed plans to revive, in early September, a forum for bilateral talks known as the high-level economic dialogue, which is aimed at improving economic integration and boosting growth.

When asked what such discussions could encompass, Mr Ebrard noted that North America was gearing up for technological changes, such as the transition to electric cars, underlining the importance of companies like Tesla in the industry.

"Obviously we're interested in being a part of that," he said.