Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in a planned phone call on Monday with Vice President Kamala Harris he would urge the United States to reopen the two countries’ shared southern border “completely.”
The pair of leaders would also, hopefully, discuss migration and new COVID-19 vaccine donations from the U.S., AMLO said.
“I have a call today with Vice President Kamala Harris. We are going to give continuity to the agenda that we have in common on migration issues, of course, the issue of opening the border, the support that they have been giving us, and that we thank you very much for having enough vaccines in our country,” AMLO said in a press conference in Ciudad Juarez, south of El Paso, Texas. Coronavirus cases have spiked in the U.S. and Mexico as new, more transmissible variants continue to spread.
A White House official confirmed the call between Harris and AMLO but did not say whether Harris planned to discuss a new shipment of vaccinations with the Mexican leader. The U.S. government provided 1.35 billion Johnson & Johnson vaccines to Mexico in June, which health authorities vowed to use to vaccinate people living in border states.
“Today, Vice President Harris will speak with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico. Following the call, the office of the vice president will provide a readout,” the official said in a statement provided to the Washington Examiner.
Mexican officials have urged Washington to reopen the border as soon as possible to allow business to resume between the two countries. But high coronavirus rates have delayed the prospect. Border crossings deemed nonessential have been off-limits since March 2020.
“It must be said that the border is open, not completely, but it has never been completely closed. However, we need to open this one, and it is an issue that we are going to discuss today,” AMLO said.
In remarks one day earlier, AMLO appeared to preview new COVID-19 vaccine shipments from the U.S., stating, “There are commitments for us to have more vaccines, provided by the United States government.”
“We’re going to talk on Monday in order to keep working on our joint agenda of collaboration,” he added.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended the Title 42 rule that allows migrants to be expelled from the country due to COVID-19 concerns.
Harris was tasked with addressing the so-called root causes of migration from Central America to the southern border, a political liability for Democrats and the Biden administration who have so far failed to wrest control of the numbers. The swell of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has reached a two-decade high.