US President Joe Biden will dispatch envoys to Mexico and Guatemala, his administration announced on Monday, for migration talks as he hopes to contain a surge of migrant arrivals at the US border with Mexico. White House border coordinator Roberta Jacobson will travel to Mexico for talks with Mexican officials in order to develop an effective and humane plan to manage migration, according to White House spokeswoman Emily Horne. The visit was also announced by Mexico’s foreign ministry, which said the talks would take place on Tuesday. Jacobson will be joined by Juan Gonzalez, the National Security Council’s senior director for the Western Hemisphere, and Ricardo Zuniga, just appointed by the State Department as the Northern Triangle special envoy. Gonzalez’s aim in Guatemala is to address root causes of migration in the region while building a more hopeful future.
Biden’s promise to end former President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies has been complicated by a recent spike in the number of migrants crossing the border illegally. An uptick in the number of migrants fleeing violence, natural disasters and economic hardship in Central America is creating a hurdle for Biden’s commitment to a more humane immigration policy. Since Biden’s inauguration, the US has seen a spike in the number of people encountered by border officials. There were 18,945 family members and 9,297 unaccompanied children encountered in February – an increase of 168 percent and 63 percent, respectively, from the month before, according to the Pew Research Center. Mexico has beefed up law enforcement at its southern border to stem a sharp increase in migrants entering the country to head for the United States. Representatives of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) will also attend the meeting. Hopefully these meeting will also be a productive first step in order to get the Biden administration’s Immigration Reform packages back on track.