UNITED STATES

Blinken and Mayorkas to press Mexican counterparts as Biden faces increasing pressure

Dec 27, 2023, 6:54 AM | Updated: 6:56 am

An immigrant family crosses to the American side of the Rio Grande on December 19, in Eagle Pass, T...

An immigrant family crosses to the American side of the Rio Grande on December 19, in Eagle Pass, Texas. A major surge of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border to seek political asylum has overwhelmed U.S. border authorities in recent weeks. (John Moore/Getty Images)

(John Moore/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Senior US officials will head to Mexico Wednesday to seek more help from their counterparts to drive down border crossings as President Joe Biden faces increasing pressure over the handling of the US southern border.

Immigration has been a political vulnerability for Biden amid fierce criticism from Republicans and some members of his own party over the situation at the US-Mexico border. This month, the issue fell at the center of the president’s foreign policy agenda, as the White House lobbied for aid to Ukraine and Israel amid their war efforts. Lack of consensus over border policy changes ultimately kept Biden from clinching billions of dollars in funds for Ukraine, Israel and the border before the end of the year.

Ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, Homeland Security officials have discussed a range of ways Mexico can help drive down numbers at the US border that will be among their asks, including moving migrants south, controlling the railways that are used by migrants to move north, and providing incentives to not journey to the border like visas.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and White House Homeland Security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall will attend the gathering, which bookends a year that kicked off with migration as a key issue.

In January, Biden met with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico City for the North American Leaders’ Summit, where, along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, they addressed migratory flows in the region.

Nearly a year later – and despite a series of measures aimed at deterring irregular migration – the record number of migrants moving across the Western hemisphere remains a pressing challenge for the US and Mexico.

Migration often ebbs and flows, but in recent weeks, a new surge of migrants fleeing deteriorating conditions at home has overwhelmed already stretched federal and state resources. Former and current Homeland Security officials have warned that the border is nearing a “breaking point.”

Last week, Biden called his Mexican counterpart as the situation at the US southern border worsened. During the call, the two leaders agreed that additional enforcement actions were “urgently needed” so key ports of entry, which had been suspended to redirect personnel to help process migrants, could be reopened.

The US has historically leaned on Mexico to stem the flow of migrants journeying to the US southern border. But Mexico, like the US, faces similar difficulties as the number of migrants crossing into its country overwhelms its limited resources.

“The Mexicans still have relatively limited capacity,” said Earl Anthony Wayne, former US ambassador to Mexico and public policy fellow at the Wilson Center.

“Their immigration force is underfunded and small. Also, they use the National Guard occasionally to stop people but that’s only good for stopping people for short periods of time and hasn’t seemed to hold up very well. And you still have networks of smugglers,” he added.

Mexican officials are currently contending with thousands of migrants who left Tapachula, located in southern Mexico, on Sunday, making a long trek by foot toward the United States.

Many of the migrants are from Central and South America as well as the Caribbean, Cuba, and Haiti. Caravans, like the one that departed over the weekend, often splinter in the weeks it takes to get to the US southern border, so it’s unclear how many migrants will arrive to the US-Mexico border.

The number of migrants arriving has also been difficult for US authorities to manage because there isn’t enough detention space or repatriation flights for those who don’t qualify for asylum.

Already in northern Mexico, more than 11,000 migrants continue to wait in shelters and camps to cross into the United States, according to community leaders. Many of those migrants are hoping to enter the US through legal pathways established by the Biden administration, such as the CBP One app, which automates scheduling appointments to claim asylum with border authorities, they said.

CNN’s Rosa Flores contributed to this report.

Related:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

United States

Washington Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy, right, lands a punch on Carolina Hurricanes left wing ...

STEPHEN WHYNO AP Hockey Writer

NHL fighting is down across the league but not going anywhere

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said fighting has a place in keeping down the temperature of games,

10 hours ago

FILE: Aerial photo of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virgina. The U.S. Army is slashing the size of its...

LOLITA C. BALDOR Associated Press

US Army is slashing thousands of posts in major revamp to prepare for future wars

The cuts include jobs related to counter-insurgency that swelled during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars but are not needed as much today.

10 hours ago

Rebecca Bistany remains locked out of her husband Paul's iPhone, nearly a year and a half after his...

Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN

Making your online accounts accessible when you die

A password management company says we each person have an average of 100 online accounts, what happens to them?

22 hours ago

Image of TV remote featuring Netflix button. Netflix may direct customers to stop paying for their ...

Samantha Delouya, CNN

You may lose access to your Netflix account if you’re paying through Apple

The update by Netflix comes after years of pushback from apps in Apples iOS App Store for taking a 30% cut of all in-app purchases.

1 day ago

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this image of the Intuitive Machines Nova-C lander, al...

Jackie Wattles, CNN

Odysseus lunar lander shares new photos from its harrowing descent

The vehicle softly touched down on the moon on Thursday, becoming the first US-made lander to do so since the Apollo era.

1 day ago

The Federal Trade Commission sued to block a proposed merger between grocery giants Kroger and Albe...

DEE-ANN DURBIN AP Business Writer

US sues to block merger of grocery giants Kroger and Albertsons

The FTC says the $24.6 billion Kroger Albertsons merger would eliminate competition and lead to higher prices for millions of Americans.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Blinken and Mayorkas to press Mexican counterparts as Biden faces increasing pressure