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US and Mexico use Teamwork to Tackle Immigration

President Joe Biden waves as he walks out of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 25, 2024, before departing on a trip to New York. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Susan Walsh/AP
President Joe Biden waves as he walks out of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 25, 2024, before departing on a trip to New York. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

By Seung Min Kim
Adapted for radio by S. Baxter Clinton

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador are moving swiftly on new steps to crack down on illegal migration that include tougher enforcement on railways, on buses and in airports as well as increased repatriation flights for migrants from both the U.S. and Mexico.

The two leaders previewed the measures in a statement following a call on Sunday, which centered on their joint efforts to “effectively manage” migration and the U.S.-Mexico border. Biden and López Obrador said they are directing their national security aides to “immediately implement concrete measures” to reduce the number of illegal border crossings.

John Kirby, the White House's national security spokesman, said the U.S. and Mexico will increase enforcement measures that would prevent major modes of transportation from being used to facilitate illegal migration to the border, as well as the number of repatriation flights that would return migrants to their home countries. Kirby also said the U.S. and Mexico would be “responding promptly to disrupt the surges.”

Arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border have actually declined in recent months, countering the usual seasonal trends that show migration tends to climb as weather conditions improve. U.S. officials have credited Mexican authorities, who have expanded their own enforcement efforts, for the decrease.

On Tuesday Kirby said, “The teamwork is paying off.”

But he cautioned: “Now we recognize, May, June, July, as things get warmer, historically those numbers have increased. And we're just going to continuously stay at that work with Mexican authorities.”

The fresh steps come as Biden deliberates whether to take executive action that would further crack down on the number of migrants arriving at the southern U.S. border.

Since the collapse of border legislation in Congress earlier this year, the White House has not ruled out Biden issuing an executive order on asylum rules to try to reduce the number of migrants at the border. Any unilateral action would likely lean on a president’s authority under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which offers broad powers to block entry of certain immigrants if their entry is deemed detrimental to the national interest.

Biden administration officials have been poring over various options for months, but the Democratic president has made no decision on how to proceed with any executive actions.

Shantar Baxter Clinton is the hourly News Reporter for KSFR. He’s earned an Associates of the Arts from Bard College at Simons Rock and a Bachelors in journalism with a minor in anthropology from the University of Maine.