US president speaks with Mexican pres. about ‘irregular migration,’ supply chain shortages

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Joe Biden greets Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC on November 18, 2021. (File photo by Reuters)

US President Joe Biden and his Mexican counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador have spoken on phone about an "unprecedented" influx of asylum seekers as well as supply chain problems that started following new border restrictions imposed in Texas. 

In the virtual phone call between the two leaders of the neighboring countries on Friday, which took almost an hour-long, Biden stressed the importance of controlling the flow of illegal migrants headed to Mexico to make way into the United States. 

“In view of the unprecedented flows of migrants from throughout the hemisphere to our two countries, the Presidents reiterated the need to build stronger tools for managing regional migration surges,” the White House said in a statement amid preparations to revoke restrictive policies imposed by the Trump administration.

The two presidents also discussed supply chain shortages triggered earlier this month after tough border measures were slapped on Mexican truckers by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (Republican), ordering every commercial truck coming across the US-Mexico border in his state to be thoroughly searched.

The inspections cause hours-long delays for trucks that threatened to damage the fresh produce they were bringing from Mexico to the US.

“President Biden and President López Obrador discussed how our countries can continue to advance our shared economic, climate, energy, and migration management goals in line with the High-Level Economic Dialogue, with a special focus on shoring up North American supply chains,” according to the White House. 

The US and Mexico have previously worked together to implement measures that would lessen the number of migrants at the border.

"The tone of the call was very constructive. This was not a call where President Biden was threatening the Mexican president in any way," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, referring to Biden's predecessor, former President Donald Trump, who started aggressive brinkmanship with its southern neighbor over illegal immigration.

In a tweet, Lopez Obrador characterized the call as "cordial" and announced that Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard would visit Washington on Monday.

Tuvimos una cordial conversación con el presidente Biden. Tratamos temas de interés en la relación bilateral y acordamos que el secretario Marcelo Ebrard visitará Washington el lunes para avanzar en temas de cooperación para el desarrollo y sobre la Cumbre de las Américas.

— Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) April 29, 2022

Meanwhile, the Biden administration aims to lift a Trump-era border restriction that is expected to raise the rate of illegal immigration.

The COVID-linked public health order known as Title 42, which allows the expulsion of asylum seekers, will be lifted on May 23.

Analysts say the move could trigger a rush to the US-Mexico border. It has also exacerbated tensions over immigration before the US midterm elections, which will decide if Biden’s Democratic Party retains control of the House and Senate.

Meanwhile, a federal judge has temporarily blocked the lifting of Title 42.

Experts say the federal judge could issue a restraining order in the next two weeks that could delay the suspension of the rule beyond the May 23 date scheduled by the Biden administration.

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