RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris witnessed on Tuesday at Mexico’s National Palace the signing of a memorandum between the governments of both countries on immigration cooperation.
The document was signed by the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard, and the Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, John S. Creamer.
Minutes earlier, during López Obrador’s morning press conference, the Mexican Foreign Minister stated that the Memorandum of Understanding on international cooperation would promote and “foster options” in Central American countries, especially Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
Ebrard explained that the memorandum includes the commitment to extend into Central America the reforestation projects Sembrando Vida and the scholarship program Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro, promoted by the Mexican Government.
These programs are already operating in El Salvador and Honduras and will soon be applied in Guatemala. The Foreign Minister clarified that the document signed “does not imply a transfer of resources”.
After the signing, López Obrador and Harris were photographed on the steps of the Palace, in front of a Diego Rivera mural, before starting the private meeting between the delegations of both countries, formed by several Mexican ministers and the U.S. special envoy for the Northern Triangle of Central America, Ricardo Zúñiga.
“We are going to talk to the Vice President, and we are very pleased that she is visiting us. We are going to talk about the migration issue but addressing the causes,” López Obrador told the press.
“The United States and Mexico share history and families. Our economies are linked, and our security depends on each other. I am in Mexico City to renew the important relationship with Mexico,” Harris said on Twitter before arriving at the National Palace.
The two will discuss common border security and economic development in Central America and southern Mexico during the meeting.
Mexican labor reform, business development, and the fight against human trafficking are also expected to be discussed.
The U.S. Vice President, who is in charge of immigration management on behalf of the White House, landed in Mexico City on Monday night after a visit to Guatemala and will leave for Washington this Tuesday afternoon.
After meeting with López Obrador, the Vice President will travel to a downtown hotel in the capital, where she will meet with women entrepreneurs and union leaders and later hold a press conference.
Harris’ three-day tour of Guatemala and Mexico, her first trip abroad since taking office in January, is primarily aimed at finding solutions to the growing problem of irregular migration.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), 178,120 undocumented immigrants were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in April, the highest number for that month since 2000.
During a press conference in Guatemala, Harris sent a message to undocumented migrants, asking them “not to come” to the United States.