Biden arrives in Mexico for summit with López Obrador, Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will join two days on Monday to discuss the economy and future of North America.

One of President Joe Biden’s most important diplomatic decisions at this week’s meeting of North American leaders may be his choice of airport.

Biden arrived in Mexico City Sunday night via Mexico’s newest hub, Felipe Angeles International Airport, a prized project of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The center was christened last year with much fanfare, although it is located more than an hour’s drive north of the city center, has few flights and, until recently, lacked drinking water.

Biden and López Obrador, whose relationship is at best trading and without the warmth and camaraderie Biden has with other world leaders, shook hands and walked down a carpet together. long red on the runway, flanked by soldiers. After that, the two drove together a long way into the city center.

Along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is due to arrive on Monday, the trio will spend the next two days discussing climate change, manufacturing, trade, the economy and the potential global influence of a North America is more cooperative.

“This meeting will strengthen our coordination and advance our shared priorities for North America,” Biden tweeted Sunday following his arrival.

Migration will also be discussed, but before the summit, Biden announced a major border policy change between the US and Mexico that, with Mexico’s backing, would result in the US sending 30,000 people migrants from four other countries return to the border each month. The United States will accept 30,000 people a month from four countries — Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti and Venezuela — for two years and provide the ability to work legally.

On Sunday, Biden spent about four hours in El Paso, Texas, his first trip to the border as president and the longest he has taken along the US-Mexico route. The day is tightly controlled and appears to be designed to represent a smooth operation aimed at dealing with migrants entering lawfully, removing contraband and humane treatment of those entering illegally. , creating a rebuttal to the Republican claim of a state of crisis equivalent to an open border.

But it doesn’t appear to have done much to quell criticism from both sides, including immigrant advocates, who accuse the Democratic president of setting up cruel policies. different from the policies of his hard-line predecessor, Donald Trump, a Republican.

Biden encountered no migrants except as his convoy drove along the border and about a dozen people lined up on the Ciudad Juárez side in Mexico. His visit did not include time at a Border Patrol station, where illegal border crossing migrants were arrested and detained before being released.

Elsewhere in El Paso, where Biden did not visit, hundreds of migrants gathered outside Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where they slept outdoors and received three meals a day from faith groups and religious groups. other humanitarian organizations.

The migrant group included several pregnant women, including Karla Sainz, 26, eight months pregnant. She was traveling with a small group that included her 2-year-old son Joshua. Sainz left three other children in his homeland of Venezuela with his mother.

“I’m going to ask President Biden to help me get a license or something so we can work and move on,” she said.

Noengris Garcia, also eight months pregnant, was traveling with her husband, teenage son and family dog ​​from the tiny Venezuelan state of Portuguesa, where she runs a food stall.

Garcia, 39, said: “We didn’t want to be given money or a house. We just want to work.”

When asked what he’d learned from seeing the border with his own eyes and talking to officers working along it, Biden said: “They need a lot of resources. We’ll get it for them.”

The number of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border has increased dramatically in Mr Biden’s first two years in office. There were over 2.38 million stops in the year ended September 30, for the first time this number surpassed 2 million. The administration has struggled to control the crossings, reluctant to take the same measures as the Trump administration.

From Texas, Biden headed south to Mexico City. López Obrador will officially welcome Biden at the Palacio Nacional on Monday, the first time since 2014, Mexico has hosted a US president. The two will meet before Trudeau joins them for dinner. Biden and Trudeau will hold talks on Tuesday, after which all three will gather to discuss.

For the United States, the main points of discussion were migration, drug trafficking and Biden’s push for electric vehicle production and production. Mexico’s focus on economic integration for North America, support for the poor in the Americas, and regional relationships puts all governments on an equal footing. Canada is looking to expand green initiatives.

While the three countries work together, it is not all rosy. The leaders of Canada and Mexico have expressed concern about Biden’s “Buy America” ​​plan. And while Biden’s push for electric vehicles is a boon for both countries because of the tax credits for North American batteries, there are concerns that US allies will be left behind.

Meanwhile, the United States and Canada accuse López Obrador of trying to favor the Mexican state-owned company for power plants built by private and foreign investors, which is prohibited under the agreement. free trade of the three countries.

Biden’s relationship with Trudeau is warmer, but he has yet to visit Canada during his presidency, although White House officials have said for months that he plans to head north after a gathering. in Los Angeles last fall.

López Obrador skipped that meeting because Biden did not invite the dictatorships of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. He also makes no secret of his admiration for Trump. And he was one of three world leaders who did not recognize Biden’s election victory until after the official Electoral College vote and the January 6 uprising on the US Capitol. But despite this, they both recognize the importance of each other.

“Both are brilliant politicians,” Andrew Selee, head of the Immigration Policy Institute at the Washington-based immigration think tank, said of Biden and López Obrador. “They’re looking for what the other needs and they’re trying to figure out what they need. It is very transactional. There is currently no grand vision for the relationship.”

For Biden, that means flying to the new airport, one of four key projects that López Obrador is racing to complete before his term ends next year, as Mexico does not allow a rematch. nominate. Other projects are an oil refinery, a cruise line in the Yucatan Peninsula and a railway linking the Gulf coast and Pacific seaports.

The airport is expected to cost $4.1 billion and be built after López Obrador canceled the partially built airport created by his predecessor. During the construction of Felipe Angeles in 2020, hundreds of mammoth skeletons were discovered. Biden arrives in Mexico for summit with López Obrador, Trudeau

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