Mexican officials to visit Washington next month to continue border discussions

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Washington CNN  — 

Mexican leaders will visit Washington next month to meet Biden Cabinet officials to continue discussions on curbing an influx of illegal migration into the US, according to the US National Security Council.

The visit will come after this week’s high-level delegation to Mexico City, which included Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, yielded some progress on boosting enforcement on the Mexican side of the border.

Immigration has been a political vulnerability for President Joe Biden, who has faced fierce criticism from Republicans and even some members of his own party for the situation at the US-Mexico border.

The January meetings will “assess progress and decide what more can be done,” according to the NSC.

“We continue to address the root causes and build on legal pathways that incentivize orderly migration and enforcement of our laws,” said the official.

Border authorities continue to report thousands of encounters with migrants every day. Authorities apprehended around 6,000 migrants along the US-Mexico border on Tuesday, marking a drop from previous days, according to a Homeland Security official.

Earlier this month, the seven-day-average hovered around 9,600 encounters, a jump from late November when that average stood at 6,800. The latest figures reflect some relief for US border authorities, though officials are still bracing for the days to come, chalking up the drop, in part, to the holidays.

A spokesperson for the NSC called this week’s trip “productive” and said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador “has taken significant new enforcement actions” when it comes to migration.

Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alicia Barcena told reporters the discussions also covered the importance of the economic relationship between the two countries and the root causes of migration, such as poverty, inequality, violence and family reunification, according to a recording provided to CNN by Mexico’s foreign ministry.

Still, US officials acknowledge there is more work both countries will need to do on migration moving forward.

Speaking after the two-and-a-half hour meeting, US officials said Mexico shared plans to crack down on migrant smugglers, which is contributing to the recent increase at the border.

Mexico has also taken a leadership role on “conducting humane border management, including repatriations,” a senior administration official said, and that more repatriations were conducted this year than ever before.

The US has historically leaned on Mexico to act as a buffer and 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.

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 US.

Many of the migrants are from Central and South America as well as the Caribbean, Cuba and Haiti.

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Mexican officials to visit Washington next month to continue border discussions

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