(CNSNews.com) – Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador on Tuesday praised President Biden for not having built “even one meter of wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border, noting that it is a situation that “the conservatives don’t like.”
“President Biden, you are the first president of the United States in a very long time that has not built – not even one meter of wall,” López Obrador said alongside Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the conclusion of their North American Leaders’ Summit in Mexico City.
“We thank you for that, sir,” he said through an interpreter, “although some might not like it – although the conservatives don’t like it.”
López Obrador went on to say that he trusts Biden “fully,” and urged him to “insist” that the U.S. Congress legalize the migration status of millions of Mexicans who have been living and working in the U.S. “and contributing to the development of that great nation.”
He also described Biden as “a man with convictions, who maintains principles” to ensure that “the Statue of Liberty never, never ever, should become a symbol, a void, an empty symbol.”
During a later question-and-answer session, López Obrador responded to a journalist’s question with a statement that went on for almost half an hour, covering an eclectic range of topics, from corruption (“there is no corruption in the administration, the government that I represent”) to a major railroad project in Mexico, to the dangers of vaping.
At one point during the rambling remarks he criticized the bussing of illegal migrants from the border to cities elsewhere in the United States.
“One of the governors of our neighboring country headed a movement to take migrants to New York, to Washington, and just drop them there,” he said. “This is politicking. This is completely inhuman.”
López Obrador was alluding to a campaign launched by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last April, in response to what he said was the Biden administration’s failure to address the unprecedented border crisis.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency reported 2,378,944 “encounters” along the U.S.-Mexico border with migrants trying to enter the U.S. without authorization in fiscal year 2022, the highest number ever recorded.
Biden last week announced a new plan that will allow 30,000 illegal migrants each month from four countries accounting for the largest numbers apprehended at the border – Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Haiti – to live and work legally in the U.S. for up to two years, provided they have financial sponsors in the U.S. and pass security vetting.
Under the plan, Mexico has agreed to accept up to 30,000 migrants each month from those same four countries who fail to use the new “pathway” on offer to them and are apprehended trying to enter the U.S. illegally.
Biden said in Mexico City on Tuesday that that plan aims to “provide safe and orderly and humane processing for people fleeing those countries to come to the United States and claiming under the – seeking asylum.”
“This is going to reduce the number of people legally trying to cross – illegally trying to cross the border,” he said.
Biden thanked López Obrador for agreeing to accept “up to 3,000 people” who don’t meet the criteria for the newly-announced parole program. In the White House plan, the actual number is up to 30,000 migrants a month.
Biden said the administration would also “continue our efforts to address the root causes of migration to help people stay in their home countries.”
“We can do more than merely just make legal immigration more streamlined,” he said. “But we can also do it by preventing people from wanting to have to leave in the first place, by helping their communities, in fact, better their circumstances.”
Noting that his proposals are supported by the Chamber of Commerce and U.S. labor movement, he added, “the point here is that my Republican friends in Congress should join us in the solutions.”