Blinken, Garland and Mayorkas land in Mexico to address a series of issues | ET REALITY

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President Biden’s top Cabinet officials will seek to forge a united front with Mexico during a series of meetings in Mexico City on Thursday that will focus on drug and weapons trafficking, as well as illegal migration.

The US officials – Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick B. Garland – arrived in the Mexican capital on Wednesday night. They are particularly focused on bolstering efforts with Mexico to reduce the flow of deadly fentanyl wreaking havoc on communities across the United States.

U.S. and Mexican officials have adopted increasingly critical rhetoric about how best to block trafficking of the synthetic drug, which is reducing life expectancy in the United States.

“The men and women of the Department of Justice are working tirelessly every day to address the three major challenges we will discuss during our meetings: fentanyl, firearms trafficking, and human trafficking,” Garland said in a statement to the New York Times on Wednesday. .

“Fentanyl trafficked into the United States is the deadliest drug threat we have ever faced,” he added. “To combat it, we will pursue every link in the cartels’ fentanyl trafficking networks, at every stage and in every part of the world.”

During their visit, Garland, Mayorkas and Blinken will meet with a variety of Mexican officials, including President Andrés Manuel López Obrador; his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alicia Bárcena Ibarra; and his security secretary, Rosa Icela Rodríguez.

Officials from both nations will hold a news conference Thursday afternoon, but are not expected to reveal any new bilateral policies.

In recent weeks, U.S. officials have pressured Mexico to invest more resources to intercept chemicals shipped from China to Mexican ports and used to make fentanyl. The Biden administration also wants Mexican authorities to crack down on laboratories where it is produced. But López Obrador has fentanyl denied It is made in Mexico.

The two nations will also try to improve their strategy to deter illegal migration in the Western Hemisphere, one of Biden’s main political vulnerabilities as the 2024 presidential campaign progresses.

U.S. Border Patrol officials recorded more than 200,000 apprehensions of migrants who illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in September, the highest monthly total so far this year. They include about 50,000 arrests of Venezuelans, according to an administration official who spoke anonymously to confirm the preliminary data. CBS News He previously reported the border crossing data.

As migrants have overwhelmed border communities and cities across the United States, the Biden administration has increasingly relied on Mexico and Central American countries to create legal pathways for migrants and bolster its own border security to prevent people from travel north.

“The Biden administration will certainly talk about its efforts to move more processing farther from the border,” said Andrew Rudman, director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center, a nonpartisan research institute based in Washington. He added that officials will also most likely discuss López Obrador’s recent call for a summit to address migration, specifically for Latin American nations. He rejected a similar summit hosted by Biden last year.

As the number of border crossings has skyrocketed, so has criticism of Biden from members of his own Democratic Party.

Governor JB Pritzker of Illinois wrote a letter to the president this week saying, “The federal government’s lack of intervention and coordination at the border has created an untenable situation for Illinois.” And New York City Mayor Eric Adams has been criticizing the Biden administration for months, warning that tens of thousands of immigrants will strain municipal resources. He will also travel this week to Mexico and South America.

During a visit to Texas before arriving in Mexico City on Wednesday, Blinken projected optimism about partnering with Mexico to develop solutions to the crisis.

“I have to say we probably have more cooperation with Mexico now than we have since I did this,” Blinken said.

Mexico has also been pressing the Biden administration to do more to stop the smuggling of firearms and other weapons from the United States to Mexico. However, U.S. officials said U.S. laws make it easier to buy and resell firearms.

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