AMLO Seeks Migration Pact With Biden, Expects Agreement on Cars

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is seeking a concession from his counterpart Joe Biden on migration, at the same time as he sees an agreement being reached in an auto dispute with the U.S.

The president said Thursday he’ll press Biden in a letter to accept his migration proposal from earlier this year to give six-month U.S. work visas to Central Americans enrolled in a regional tree-planting program spearheaded by Mexico. AMLO, as the president is known, underscored the importance of regional collaboration.

The president’s comments come in the wake of criticism over Mexico’s heavy-handed dispersion of a caravan of migrants in southern Mexico over the weekend. Two immigration officials were suspended after they were caught on video beating a migrant to the ground and kicking him in the face. 

Detentions and encounters of migrants by U.S. officials at the border with Mexico have risen steadily this year, reaching a peak of 212,672 in July alone. The U.S. has kept in place a pandemic-era order that allows it to expel a portion of those migrants to Mexico and the country’s Supreme Court recently allowed the reinstatement of a program that made asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for their U.S. court cases.

AMLO Seeks Migration Pact With Biden, Expects Agreement on Cars

Auto Spat

Separately, Mexico last month sought a formal consultation with the U.S. over rules for cars shipped across regional borders. Canada joined the spat days later, saying it would be an interested third party in the discussions.

The U.S. insists on a stricter way than Mexico and Canada for counting the origin of certain core parts, which makes it harder for assembly lines to meet the threshold of 75% regional content in order to trade duty-free on the revamped North American free trade agreement, according to people familiar with the matter.

Lopez Obrador said Thursday he thought the dispute would be resolved before requiring the intervention of a panel. 

“We don’t want to get to the point of an international panel,” he said. “That’s an option that exists when there’s these kinds of controversies over the trade agreement, but I don’t think we’ll get to that. We’ll manage to have an agreement soon.”

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