Biden, AMLO Make Push to ‘Significantly’ Reduce Border Crossings

(Bloomberg) -- US President Joe Biden directed staff to work with Mexico to curb the number of illegal border crossings, as the White House seeks to quell a record migration surge that has become a political liability for the American leader as he seeks reelection.

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Biden spoke with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Sunday, according to a White House statement. They agreed to an effort to reduce the number of people who cross the land border between ports of entry, many of whom file asylum claims that have overwhelmed US authorities.

“The two leaders ordered their national security teams to work together to immediately implement concrete measures to significantly reduce irregular border crossings while protecting human rights,” the White House said in a statement.

AMLO, as the Mexican president is known, told reporters Monday the two leaders “talked about keeping the border open for those who follow the legal processes to get to the United States, but that there shouldn’t be what they call irregular migration.”

Read more: Mexico’s AMLO Spoke to Biden by Phone Sunday on Migration

Border crossings are a key line of attack against Biden in this year’s election, with his rival, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, calling for fresh restrictions.

US authorities recorded more than 300,000 encounters at the border in December, but the numbers have fallen to just over half that level in the three months since.

Biden has called on Republicans to join Democrats in passing a bill to fund fresh border measures, but a bipartisan Senate effort collapsed earlier this year when Republicans balked under pressure from Trump.

The White House has said they are evaluating whether to pursue executive action in a bid to deter illegal migration, though efforts to deport those making asylum claims are likely to face legal and cost-related challenges.

--With assistance from Maya Averbuch.

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