Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador met with U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday as tensions between the two nations remain high over a growing number of migrants from Central America.
In their meeting in the Oval Office, Obrador encouraged Biden to open the door to more migrants into the U.S. He suggested the United States accept more skilled workers from Mexico and Central America.
“I say this in a sincere way and in the most respectful manner; it is indispensable for us to regularize and give certainty to migrants who for years have lived and worked in a very honest manner and are also contributing to the development of this great nation,” Obrador said.
“I know your adversaries, the conservatives, are going to be screaming all over the place, but without a bold program, it will not be possible to solve problems. The way out is not through conservatism. The way out is through transformation. We have to be bold in our actions,” he added.
Like the U.S., Mexico has seen a growing number of migrants from Central America, many of whom cross the country to make it to the U.S. Government data estimates that U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered 684,000 migrants from Central America at the U.S. and Mexico border.
Biden acknowledged the challenge Mexico is enduring with the influx of migrants.
“Like us, Mexico has become a top destination of migrants,” Biden said. “My admin is leading the way to creating work opportunities through legal pathways.”
The White House said before Tuesday’s meeting that there is an urgency to form a partnership with Mexico to address the influx of migrants. The Biden administration pointed to last month’s discovery when 51 migrants were found dead in the back of a tractor-trailer in Texas.