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With the city of Tijuana reeling from an influx of migrants that Mexican authorities allowed to enter the country, Mexico’s new president has acted to stop further migrant caravans before they begin.
On Saturday, new Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador signed an agreement with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to increase jobs in the region as a way to stem the flow of U.S.-bound migrants, The Washington Post reported.
Finance ministers of the four nations will meet in the first quarter of 2019 to develop “programs, projects, and specific actions, for the sake of jobs generation and poverty fight in the region,” according to the agreement.
An “integral development plan” will be created to make Central American nations better places to live, reducing the numbers of citizens who cite high crime and high unemployment as reasons to leave.
Lopez Obrador will have no honeymoon period when he takes office on Saturday. "The migrant caravan is probably the starting point of the next Mexico-US relations" says @esteban_is https://t.co/eT6cUTdJdU
— Emily Green (@emilytgreen) November 30, 2018
Dialog with U.S. officials about the border will continue Monday as Mexican officials meet with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, according to Politico.
The Trump administration wants Mexico to agree to hold migrants in Mexico during their bid for asylum in the U.S.
Mexico wants the U.S. to kick in funding for a regional economic plan to help address the root causes that sent migrants from their homes.
Those competing needs will be the subject of meetings between Mexican and American officials this week, The Washington Post reported.
Incoming Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said the U.S. should pay $20 billion toward Central American renewal.
“Mexico by itself is going to invest in our own territory during the next administration, more than $20 billion, and so any serious effort regarding our brothers in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala should be for a similar amount,” he said.
Just ended working dinner with Secretary Mike Pompeo. Friendly conversation as a first approach towards a long standing understanding between Mexico and the USA. I thank him for his attitude and respect towards the new administration of President Lopez Obrador.
— Marcelo Ebrard C. (@m_ebrard) December 3, 2018
Some Mexican officials have said they can integrate migrants into the Mexican economy. So far, migrants have been living at a sports complex in Tijuana. They were recently moved to a former concert venue for health reasons, officials said.
The migrant caravan is being moved in Tijuana away from the U.S – Mexican border. A move that open border activists and organizers are not happy with since they are further away from the border crossing, but as you can see a necessary move.
This is what is being left behind. pic.twitter.com/TwvMNyjcKY
— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) December 2, 2018
However, the new administration said it can make the migrants into the workers Mexico needs for its economy.
“(Remain) in Mexico is just that,” incoming interior minister Olga Sanchez Cordero said last week. “To be in Mexico because we give you work, because we want you to integrate into our population, because we speak the same language, because we want you to be here.”