Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has requested the United States to pay $20 billion to help curb illegal immigration. The US has experienced a significant increase in illegal border crossings, with 192,000 apprehensions in November and 9,600 additional daily migrant encounters during the first three weeks of December. Texas, Florida, and New York City have been the focal points of the influx, with politicians redirecting migrants to other areas and states. House Speaker Mike Johnson, who has called the Biden administration’s approach to immigration “an unmitigated disaster,” visited Eagle Pass, Texas, to tour the heavily traversed area by migrants. Obrador also asked the U.S. to grant visas to at least 10 million Hispanic migrants who have worked for more than 10 years in the country, which he reportedly iterated to President Joe Biden during their most recent bilateral meeting in Mexico City.
According to Mexican Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodriguez, armed men kidnapped 32 migrants from Venezuela and Honduras off of a bus on December 31 in an effort to extort money from them and their families in the United States.
Biden and Obrador agreed that additional enforcement was necessary at key ports of entry to reopen them safely to those attempting to cross legally. Biden requested that the White House Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas travel to Mexico. Obrador criticised the Biden administration’s lifting of the Title 42 immigration policy last May, claiming that the Trump-era policy encouraged smugglers to enter the U.S. illegally.