Fentanyl, Unlawful Migration and Weapons Prime Agenda as Blinken Visits Mexico

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President Biden’s prime cupboard officers will search to forge a united entrance with Mexico throughout a collection of conferences in Mexico Metropolis on Thursday that can give attention to drug and gun trafficking, in addition to unlawful migration.

The U.S. officers — Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Homeland Safety Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Lawyer Common Merrick B. Garland — arrived within the Mexican capital on Wednesday night. The are significantly centered on bolstering efforts with Mexico to curtail the stream of lethal fentanyl wreaking havoc in communities all through america.

American and Mexican officers have adopted more and more essential rhetoric over one of the best ways to dam the trafficking of the artificial drug, which is driving down life expectancy in america.

“The women and men of the Justice Division are working tirelessly day-after-day to deal with the three core challenges we are going to focus on throughout our conferences: fentanyl, firearms trafficking and human smuggling,” Mr. Garland mentioned in a press release to The New York Instances on Wednesday.

“The fentanyl being trafficked into america is the deadliest drug menace we have now ever confronted,” he added. “To battle it, we’re going after each hyperlink within the cartels’ fentanyl trafficking networks, at each stage, and in each a part of the world.”

Throughout their go to, Mr. Garland, Mr. Mayorkas and Mr. Blinken will meet with a variety of Mexican officers, together with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador; his overseas minister, Alicia Bárcena Ibarra; and his safety secretary, Rosa Icela Rodríguez.

Officers from each nations will maintain a information convention on Thursday afternoon, however they aren’t anticipated to unveil new bilateral insurance policies.

U.S. officers in latest weeks have pushed Mexico to speculate extra assets to intercept the chemical substances shipped from China to Mexico’s ports and used to make fentanyl. The Biden administration additionally needs Mexican legislation enforcement to crack down on labs the place it’s produced. However Mr. López Obrador has denied fentanyl is made in Mexico.

The 2 nations will even goal to enhance their technique for deterring unlawful migration within the Western Hemisphere — one in every of Mr. Biden’s main political vulnerabilities because the 2024 presidential marketing campaign ramps up.

U.S. Border Patrol officers recorded greater than 200,000 apprehensions of migrants illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexican border in September, the best month-to-month whole thus far this 12 months. They embrace about 50,000 apprehensions of Venezuelans, in keeping with an administration official who spoke anonymously to verify the preliminary knowledge. CBS News earlier reported the border crossing knowledge.

As migrants have overwhelmed border communities and cities all through america, the Biden administration has more and more relied on Mexico and Central American international locations to create authorized pathways for immigrants and to bolster their very own border safety to forestall individuals from making the journey north.

“The Biden administration will certainly discuss its efforts to have extra of the processing happen farther away from the border,” mentioned Andrew Rudman, director of the Mexico Institute on the Wilson Middle, a nonpartisan analysis institute primarily based in Washington. He added that the officers would additionally more than likely focus on Mr. López Obrador’s latest name for a summit to deal with migration, particularly for Latin American nations. He snubbed an identical summit hosted by Mr. Biden final 12 months.

Because the variety of border crossings has soared, so, too, has the criticism towards Mr. Biden from members of his personal Democratic Celebration.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois wrote a letter to the president this week saying, “The federal authorities’s lack of intervention and coordination on the border has created an untenable state of affairs for Illinois.” And New York Metropolis’s mayor, Eric Adams, has for months criticized the Biden administration, warning that the tens of hundreds of migrants will exhaust municipal assets. He’s additionally touring to Mexico and South America this week.

Throughout a go to to Texas earlier than arriving in Mexico Metropolis on Wednesday, Mr. Blinken projected optimism about partnering with Mexico to develop options to the disaster.

“I’ve to say we most likely have extra cooperation with Mexico now than since I’ve been doing this,” Mr. Blinken mentioned.

Mexico has additionally been urgent the Biden administration to do extra to cease the smuggling of firearms and different weapons from america to Mexico. U.S. officers mentioned, nonetheless, that American legal guidelines make it simple to purchase and resell firearms.