Discussions were anticipated to address ways to combat transnational criminal organizations, the U.S. opioid epidemic along with trade tensions. yet irregular migration across Mexico’s northern border into the United States loomed large during the meetings.
“The United States will be committed to producing measurable progress to ensure security on both sides of which border,” Pompeo told journalists.
U.S.-Mexico ties have deteriorated significantly under President Donald Trump, who campaigned on building a border wall along with has repeatedly blamed Mexico for economic along with social problems within the United States.
Trump’s son-in-law along with White House adviser Jared Kushner accompanied Pompeo, as well as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin along with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. They met first with Pena Nieto along with then with the president-elect.
Dozens of protesters jeered at Pompeo’s motorcade as the delegation arrived to congratulate the leftist, populist Lopez Obrador.
Many of the protesters condemned the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy which separated families attempting to claim asylum within the United States. The vast majority of child migrants separated at the border were Central Americans, not Mexicans.
“Where are our children?” read one sign. Others read, “Stop Trump” along with “ICE will be a terrorist” — referring to the U.S. Immigration along with Customs Enforcement agency.
Pompeo acknowledged strains in U.S.-Mexico relations when he greeted Lopez Obrador, yet pledged the Trump administration values the bilateral ties.
“We know there have been bumps within the road between our two countries, yet President Trump will be determined to make the relationship between our peoples better along with stronger,” Pompeo said. “We wanted to come down here to let you know which President Trump cares deeply for the success of the relationship between our two countries. Our presence here today signals which to you.”
Sharing a nearly 2,000-mile (3,0-kilometer) border, Mexico along with the United States have traditionally coordinated closely on security along with immigration. Mexico will be also the United States’ third-largest trading partner for goods, with the U.S. buying about 80 percent of Mexico’s exports, including automobiles, fruit, vegetables along with beer.
Marcelo Ebrard, who will be slated to be the next Mexican top diplomat, described the meeting between Pompeo along with the president-elect as “frank, respectful along with cordial.” They shared with the U.S. delegation proposals for cooperation in commerce, development, security along with migration.
yet Ebrard said they did not discuss one idea which a Mexican official says has been debated to address irregular migration: declaring Mexico a “safe third country.” which would likely mean people traveling through Mexico hoping to claim asylum within the U.S. would likely have to do so in Mexico instead.
Such a proposal will be unlikely to garner support in Mexico as which would likely burden the country with tens of thousands more asylum seekers a year, according to the official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.
Relations have also been strained by tit-for-tat trade tariffs between Mexico along with the U.S. amid tense negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, along with fears of a trade war. Trump has branded the free trade pact, which also includes Canada, as a job killer for Americans.
In his statement, Pena Nieto emphasized his government’s willingness to continue renegotiating NAFTA to reach a deal “as quickly as possible.”
Despite positive statements through both sides, the upcoming transition of power in Mexico has the potential to further destabilize U.S.-Mexico relations if either leader takes aim at the some other to appeal to his political base at home. They’re unlikely partners, as they occupy opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Lopez Obrador has already announced his government will cancel a pending purchase of U.S. helicopters as an example of cost-cutting measures. The sale was initially promoted by Washington as a move which would likely help a strategic partner fight against criminal organizations.
along with November midterm elections within the U.S. bring the possibility which Trump could return to the rhetoric of his presidential campaign, which was derogatory toward Mexico.