Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday that he would discuss migration policy with his US counterpart Joe Biden ahead of the lifting of pandemic-era border restrictions this week.
The video call on Tuesday would cover “migration, fentanyl and development cooperation,” Lopez Obrador told reporters, as the two countries brace for a possible wave of migrants at their shared border.
On Thursday, Biden’s administration will lift Title 42, the strict protocol implemented by previous president Donald Trump to deny entry to migrants and expel asylum seekers based on the Covid-19 emergency.
Instead, Washington plans to deter undocumented migrants using another rule called Title 8, which essentially criminalizes illegal border crossings, making future legal residency impossible.
The United States says hopeful migrants and asylum seekers must use legal pathways in their own countries, or nations they pass through on the way.
Last week, the United States said that it would deploy 1,500 more troops to help provide security at the US-Mexican border in preparation for a possible surge in migrant crossing attempts.
Mexico has urged migrants not to be deceived by people smugglers spreading rumors that they will be able to enter the United States when Title 42 is lifted.
“Don’t be fooled. Don’t be extorted by smugglers who put you at risk,” Lopez Obrador said.
“You don’t have to make the journey through Mexico,” he added, urging people to apply for visas in their home countries.