US, Mexico Defy Expectations by Cooperating on Immigration

Mexico and the United States are defying expectations by identifying ways to cooperate on the contentious issues surrounding migration.

Since Mexico’s new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), took office on Dec. 1, U.S. and Mexican officials have hammered out a dual-track approach to tackling the flow and management of migrants heading northward from Central America to Mexico and the United States.

One track is a cooperative multi-year strategy designed to help keep potential migrants in their home regions by creating new economic opportunities.

The second track is comprised of de facto steps to manage migrant flows approaching the U.S.-Mexico border, such as the caravan that reached the Tijuana-San Diego region in November.

Though the two sides continue to disagree over key elements of U.S. border and migration policies, they are endeavoring to find practical ways to manage safely the flows of those seeking asylum in the U.S., while protecting vital border operations and commerce.

Details of both tracks must be further elaborated and put into practice, but the constructive work on these pressing issues is welcome, especially given the ongoing differing opinions in and between Mexico and the U.S. on migration-related issues.

To begin establishing long-term solutions, on Dec. 18, the Mexican and U.S. governments announced an ambitious strategy to address the root causes of Central American migration by promoting economic growth and jobs. They propose to invest billions of dollars and to encourage private investment to fuel this effort.

In early 2019, Mexico and the United States will hold a ministerial meeting, establish a high-level task force and organize a business summit to take forward what will be a multi-year effort in southern Mexico and Central America’s Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador).

The U.S.-Mexico announcement essentially pledges cooperative work to create a “zone of prosperity” in these two regions to allow local residents to build better lives.

The U.S. announced a new commitment of up to $2 billion in funding to support private- and public-sector investment in southern Mexico, which would be provided by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and will depend on identifying suitable projects.

By Earl Anthony Wayne for THE HILL
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