President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. met today with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico, in San Francisco, California. The two leaders reaffirmed the U.S.-Mexico relationship as a consequential strategic partnership that spans the full spectrum of national and homeland security interests ranging from economic competitiveness and climate change to citizen security and migration management.
Recognizing the devastating effects of the fentanyl and synthetic opioid crisis, President Biden expressed appreciation for the full commitment President López Obrador has made to confront this challenge through domestic efforts, as well as bilaterally, trilaterally with Canada though the Trilateral Fentanyl Commission, and multilaterally through the Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats. The leaders discussed ways the United States and Mexico can expand law enforcement cooperation as we combat the trafficking of people, illicit drugs, and arms, and dismantle the violent transnational criminal organizations that run these trafficking networks and terrorize our communities.
The United States and Mexico share the objective of making North America the most dynamic, competitive, and prosperous region in the world. President Biden thanked President López Obrador for Mexico’s participation in the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity. He reiterated that with massive shifts in global supply chains, the availability of clean energy technologies, and advances in artificial intelligence, our countries have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to boost North American prosperity through the creation of good jobs for both our countries, all while meeting our respective national goals to combat the climate crisis. The leaders discussed the importance of ensuring our region’s investment climate bolsters efforts to deepen economic integration and secure our supply chains, including through nearshoring. Mexico is now the United States’ largest trading partner, with two-way trade in goods and services totaling $863.4 billion in 2022. This trade directly and indirectly supports millions of jobs in both countries. Cooperation between our countries on regulatory alignment and our supply chain coordination, particularly in the information and communication technologies and semiconductor sectors, is helping to ensure the United States and Mexico are able to take full advantage of economic opportunities now and in the future.
President Biden recognized the essential partnership that we have built with Mexico to manage unprecedented levels of migration across the Western Hemisphere. With regard to enforcement, President Biden thanked President López Obrador for sustaining his effective containment operations and joining the United States in repatriating individuals who do not have a legal basis through which to remain in our countries. This is critical to deterring irregular migration to our shared border. The United States has conducted a record number of removals this year, and most recently restarted removal flights to Venezuela. The leaders discussed the need for all countries in the region to do their part to humanely manage migration, and they agreed to work together to address the actions that Nicaragua and certain private sector entities are taking to facilitate irregular migration for profit. The United States is currently exploring options within our legal framework to penalize this activity.
The leaders also discussed their joint commitment to address the root causes of migration across the Western Hemisphere and to expand lawful pathways for migration. On the topic of root causes, both leaders expressed concern about efforts to undermine the electoral process in Guatemala. On legal pathways, the United States and Mexico jointly launched a humanitarian parole process earlier this year for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans, and paired it with consequences for unlawful entry; nearly 300,000 individuals from these countries have come legally to the United States in the last 12 months under this initiative. This led to a dramatic and sustained drop in irregular migration at our shared border. Building on this, the United States launched the Safe Mobility Office Initiative in April 2023 with countries across the region. Since the SMO Initiative started, the United States has welcomed more than 2,000 refugees to the United States. President Biden recognized steps that Mexico is taking to expand access to legal pathways including work visas inside Mexico, particularly for Central Americans. The two leaders agreed to sustain and expand the close cooperation that we have achieved in managing migration in the Western Hemisphere. This work is at the heart of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection.
Recognizing that the United States and Mexico have a shared stake in each other’s prosperity and security, the two Presidents committed to continuing to partner in multiple dimensions to capitalize on economic opportunity and to jointly lead in meeting the global and regional challenges of fentanyl and migration.