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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador received Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States this Tuesday at the National Palace of Mexico to address the migration crisis.
Harris arrived at 9.59 local time (14.59 GMT), in the middle of a strong security device, at the presidential headquarters, where she was received by the Mexican president.
“It’s a pleasure,” said the president, while she replied: “I am very happy to be here.”
López Obrador, who unlike the American vice-president was not wearing a mask, then led Harris to the Patio de Honor of the National Palace, adorned with Mexican and U.S. flags, where they both witnessed the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the two governments on immigration.
“We are going to talk with the Vice President and we are very pleased that she is visiting us. We are going to talk about the immigration issue but addressing the causes”, said López Obrador to the press before starting the private meeting.
The American vice-president, in charge of immigration management on behalf of the White House, landed on Monday night in Mexico City after a visit to Guatemala and will leave for Washington this Tuesday afternoon.
Upon landing in Mexico, the Vice President’s spokeswoman, Symone Sanders, told the press that the two countries will sign a memorandum that will address “cooperation between development agencies working in Central America”.
This memorandum will establish the way in which both countries will cooperate in the region with measures focused on giving opportunities to youth and also to farmers through a reforestation program.
He explained that the meeting between López Obrador and Harris will serve to continue the virtual conversation they held last May, in which they agreed to “expand cooperation between the United States and Mexico to address the causes of migration” in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
During the meeting, the two will discuss common border security, economic development in Central America and southern Mexico.
Mexican labor reform, business development and the fight against human trafficking are also expected to be discussed.
“They will also talk specifically about migration at the U.S.-Mexico border, both by stepping up enforcement and partnering to address the root causes of it,” Harris’ spokeswoman said.
After meeting with Lopez Obrador, the Vice President will travel to a downtown hotel in the capital, where she will meet with women entrepreneurs and union leaders, followed by a press conference.
Harris’ three-day tour of Guatemala and Mexico, her first trip abroad since taking office last January, is primarily aimed at finding solutions to the growing problem of irregular migration.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), 178,120 undocumented immigrants were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in April, the highest number for that month since 2000.
During a press conference in Guatemala, Harris launched a message to undocumented migrants, to whom he bluntly said: “do not come” to the United States, which has been branded by the Republican wing of the country as an act of hypocrisy, since during Trump’s term he strongly criticized anti-immigration policies.
In view of Harris’ visit to Mexico, a strong security operation was deployed around the National Palace as part of the preparations and strategy to guard the vice-president.