As border crossings hit record highs, US President Joe Biden’s administration quietly urges Mexico to accept more migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela under a COVID-19 deportation order than the White House has publicly sought to end, seven US and three Mexican officials said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised concerns about the growing number of migrant crossings from the three countries during a visit to Mexico City on Monday, two US and two Mexican officials told Reuters, but Mexico does not promised no specific action.
A US official said trying to convince Mexico to agree was “an uphill battle”.
All sources requested anonymity to discuss internal government matters.
Mexico is already accepting US returns of migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. So far this fiscal year, around 299,000 people from these countries have been deported at the border, compared to around 9,000 returning from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
The US effort to pressure Mexico over these three particular nationalities illustrates the depth of concern within the Biden Democratic administration over their border crossings. Most migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela crossing into the United States are allowed to stay to apply for asylum because they are difficult to deport due to frosty diplomatic relations with their governments.
The Mexican Foreign Ministry declined to comment. A spokesman for the White House National Security Council declined to discuss “diplomatic conversations” but said nations in the region “have already begun to collectively take responsibility for managing migration flows, including through through repatriation”.
US border agents have made a record 1.8 million migrant arrests so far in fiscal year 2022, many of whom have attempted to cross multiple times, creating humanitarian challenges and political liability for Biden ahead of the November 8 midterm elections.
Of those apprehensions at the southwest border, nearly a quarter of migrants were from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, up from 8% in 2021 and 3% in 2020. Most were allowed to enter the United States for pursue immigration cases.
Mexico Daily Post