President Biden is set to meet with Mexican President Manuel López Obrador Monday afternoon amid the migrant crisis and as the new administration has taken steps to roll back Trump-era immigration policies. The meeting, which is expected to take place virtually Monday, is set to focus on how the United States and Mexico can cooperate on economic and national security issues, as well as combatting the coronavirus pandemic. López Obrador is reportedly expected to propose a new Bracero-style immigrant labor program to Biden, which could bring 600,000 to 800,000 Mexican and Central American immigrants a year to work legally in the United States. The original Bracero program allowed Mexicans to work temporarily in the United States to fill labor shortages during World War II and for a couple of decades after the war. López Obrador has said the U.S. economy needs Mexican workers because of their youth and strength.
It is currently unclear whether Biden would support or oppose that proposal, but it is certain that the U.S. and Mexico agree on the need to expand legal pathways for migration. The Biden administration hopes to mend and formalize the relationship with Mexico, as opposed to former President Trump, whose administration’s relationship with Mexico involved the threat of tariffs, a crackdown on migration and his efforts to construct a border wall along the U.S. southern border. The border wall was a huge 2016 campaign promise for Trump, in which he vowed Mexico would pay for the construction of the wall, however, Mexico did not pay for the wall. Biden, on his first day in office, announced an “immediate termination” of funding for the border wall and also restored the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.