April 30 (UPI) — President Joe Biden met virtually with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday to discuss key issues including immigration, which has been an active topic recently in Washington, D.C.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the “majority of the conversation was about migration and was about continued work on coordination, on economic coordination, on taking steps to reduce migration to the border, and they have been a partner in that over the last several months.”
She described the conversation as “very constructive.”
Lopez Obrador, meanwhile, tweeted that the call was “cordial” and the two leaders “spoke of issues of interest to the bilateral relationship.”
Further details about the nearly hourlong conversation weren’t released, but White House officials gave a preview of the meeting earlier Friday.
“The two leaders will discuss their vision for the Ninth Summit of the Americas and how North America can lead on priority initiatives for the region,” the White House said in a statement.
“They also plan to discuss cooperation on migration, joint development efforts in Central America, competitiveness and economic growth, security, energy, and economic cooperation.”
Immigration and border security have been much-debated topics in the United States over the past few weeks. The Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas against Biden that seeks to keep former President Donald Trump‘s “Remain in Mexico” policy — which says that refugee migrants must wait out their asylum cases in Mexico or some other country.
Biden’s administration has tried to junk the policy, but federal appellate courts have ruled so far that the program is not discretionary — meaning a president can’t simply cut it.
Also this week, a federal judge paused Biden’s plan to end Title 42 — a federal law allowing the United States to expel migrants quickly into Mexico on COVID-19 grounds. Trump used Title 42 to begin expelling migrants and Biden set it to expire late next month.
The judge’s decision, however, pauses the plan and it will be evaluated at a hearing on May 13.
At Friday’s meeting, Biden was also expected to raise Mexico’s neutrality regarding the Russian war in Ukraine. In the past, Gen. Glen Van Herck, the head of the U.S. Northern Command, has accused Mexico of being soft on Russian espionage.
Biden and Lopez Obrador met in person at the White House last November.