Mike Pompeo will meet with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) in Mexico City today, where the two will discuss a host of issues including immigration and trade.
AMLO and Donald Trump’s relationship got off to a warm start after the US president congratulated the former on his landslide victory in elections earlier this month. But with the two leaders headstrong and intensely focused on their domestic mandate, the relationship could quickly sour.
One issue of potential volatility is immigration. Despite AMLO offering his assistance to reduce the number of migrants reaching the US, hardening Mexico’s northern border could be detrimental to his broader goals of improving the economy and lowering crime. As it stands, Mexico lacks the capacity to settle the 14,000 immigrants—prime targets for criminals—currently seeking asylum, which would inflate if access to the US is cut off.
While today’s meeting will likely paint an optimistic future for US-Mexico relations, watch for immigration to swiftly come to a head after AMLO’s inauguration in December. Specifically, a pending deal between Washington and the incumbent administration that requires Central American immigrants to apply for asylum with Mexico instead of the US could be untenable for AMLO.
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Alex is a senior analyst in the Current Developments team with a primary focus on the Americas. He also serves as an editor on The Daily Brief.