Mexican president to hold call with Biden on immigration

MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s president said Monday he will speak by phone with U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday about immigration and the fentanyl crisis.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the leaders will also discuss development programs to help stem the flow of migrants at the US border. The conversation comes two days before the end of pandemic-era immigration restrictions that allowed US authorities to quickly deport migrants who crossed the border illegally.

López Obrador called on migrants not to use smugglers to travel to the US border.

“Don’t be fooled,” López Obrador said during the morning briefing. “Don’t be blackmailed by coyotes, smugglers, who put you at risk.”

Mexico agreed last week to continue accepting migrants from Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba and Nicaragua who are turned away at the border, as well as some other migrants from Central America.

The Mexican president has previously called on the US government to provide more development aid to Central America so that people do not have to migrate.

López Obrador has also criticized proposals by Republican lawmakers in the United States to make it harder to apply for asylum and make it easier for authorities to block migrants at the border.

“It really degrades them, morally,” he said.

The two presidents will also discuss the fentanyl crisis. The synthetic opioid, smuggled in mostly from Mexico, has caused about 70,000 overdose deaths a year in the United States.

López Obrador has denied that drug cartels make fentanyl in Mexico, although he has acknowledged that precursor chemicals — and, he says, finished fentanyl — are smuggled into Mexico from China, a claim that the China has denied.

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