President Biden Hosts Virtual Meeting with Mexican President Obrador


Courtesy of Anna Moneymaker

President Biden meets with Mexican President Obrador via Zoom.

Lydia McFarlane, Staff Writer

On Monday, March 1, President Joe Biden met with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for the first time since Biden’s inauguration in January. Due to the pandemic, the meeting was held virtually in order to comply with both countries’ COVID-19 guidelines. The goals of the meeting were for the two leaders to talk about immigration, handling the pandemic and economic and security issues. Security at the United States’ shared border with Mexico was a top priority, especially since illegal immigration became a topic of scrutiny under Donald Trump’s administration.

This is what I know, the United States and Mexico are stronger when we stand together,” Biden said at the beginning of the meeting. “We’re safer when we work together. Whether it’s addressing the challenges of our shared border or getting this pandemic under control.” 

Although former President Trump threatened Mexico with strict taxes, a border wall and strict migration regulations, his and Lopez Obrador’s relationship was not necessarily strained. However, President Biden is focused on reversing many of the Trump-era laws and regulations regarding migration in Mexico and  stopping the construction of the Mexico-United States border wall that was a defining feature of Trump’s presidency. 

Lopez Obrador’s main goals of the meeting were to propose a new migrant worker plan to Biden and ask for U.S. manufactured vaccines to be sent over the border. According to reports from the White House, Biden is not yet open to sending vaccines across the border. Instead, he is more focused on first getting the majority of the American public vaccinated before sending supplies to other nations. 

Lopez Obrador’s immigrant worker plan would allow 600,000 to 800,000 Mexican and other Central American immigrants to enter the United States legally as migrant workers every year. Although White House officials have declined to say whether or not Biden will choose to back this plan, they acknowledge that Biden agrees there needs to be more pathways to legal migration over the Mexican-US border. Lopez Obrador’s program would be a reimagined Brocero program, which allowed Mexican migrants to work legally in the United States during and shortly after World War II. In his reimagining, the program would not only be for agriculture industries and workers but for other professional areas of work as well. Lopez Obrador said the United States will need Mexican migrant workers to sustain the United States’ rapid economic growth. 

Before the meeting, he said he planned to tell Biden, “It is better that we start putting order on migratory flows.” After the meeting, both men walked away with high spirits and high hopes for the future of the relationship between Mexico and the United States. Lopez Obrador says the meeting was “friendly, respectful and with a lot of emphasis on cooperation for development.” Although the Mexican president did not walk away with a guarantee on a deal about the vaccines, he still is feeling hopeful since he was not denied by Biden and his team.

In another follow up on the meeting, Lopez Obrador said the hour and fifteen-minute-long meeting was full of laughter and positivity. Almost all the nations’ major issues were covered during the meeting and agreements may not have been reached, but each nation’s leader was willing to listen to the other. The first meeting between the two leaders promises more compromise and a solid relationship between Mexico and the United States in the years to come. 

“There were not any differences, I’m telling you categorically, not a single one,” Lopez Obrador said.