POLITICS

Mexican president to hold call with Biden on immigration

May 8, 2023, 12:10 PM | Updated: 12:32 pm

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s president said Monday he will talk with U.S. President Joe Biden by telephone on Tuesday about immigration and the fentanyl crisis.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the leaders will also discuss development programs to help stem the flow of migrants to the U.S. border. The conversation comes two days before the end of pandemic-era immigration restrictions that allowed U.S. authorities to quickly expel migrants who crossed the border illegally.

López Obrador appealed to migrants not to use smugglers to travel to the U.S. border.

“Don’t allow yourselves to be fooled,” López Obrador said during his morning news briefing. “Don’t allow yourselves to be blackmailed by coyotes, smugglers, who put you at risk.”

Mexico agreed last week to continue to accept migrants from Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba and Nicaragua who are turned away at the border, as well as some other migrants from Central America.

The Mexican president has previously asked the U.S. government to contribute more development aid to Central America so people won’t have to migrate.

López Obrador has also slammed proposals by U.S. Republican legislators to make it more difficult to apply for asylum and easier for authorities to block migrants at the border.

“This really degrades them, morally,” he said.

The two presidents will also discuss the fentanyl crisis. The synthetic opioid, mainly smuggled in from Mexico, has caused about 70,000 overdose deaths per year in the United States.

López Obrador has denied that drug cartels make fentanyl in Mexico, although he has acknowledged that precursor chemicals — and, he claims, finished fentanyl — are smuggled into Mexico from China, a claim China has denied.

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