President Joe Biden came into office clearly motivated to reverse as many of his predecessor’s immigration and border policies as possible, but he recently appeared to tacitly acknowledge that former President Donald Trump was on the right track in regard to at least one related issue.
The Biden administration recently struck a deal similar to one reached under the Trump administration by making arrangements with Mexico and certain Central American nations to increase their border security measures in hopes of stemming the tide of undocumented immigrants approaching the southern U.S. border.
“Ongoing over a period of time”
Rumors had swirled in recent weeks that such an agreement was underway with Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
The details reportedly include a surge of law enforcement and military personnel to the nations’ respective borders to dissuade migrants from continuing their journey to the U.S-Mexico border.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the development on Monday, indicating that such deals were in place and providing a few details on what the increased security measures would entail.
“So, Mexico made the decision to maintain 10,000 troops at its southern border, resulting in twice as many daily migrant interdictions,” she said. “Guatemala surged 1,500 police and military personnel to its southern border with Honduras and agreed to set up 12 checkpoints along the migratory route. Honduras surged 7,000 police and military to disperse a large contingent of migrants.”
Asked by one reporter if the agreements had been reached recently, Psaki said that would be a “fair” assessment to make, going on to note that “often these discussions are ongoing over a period of time and take place at several levels of the government, both here and within these countries.”
“To protect those children”
As for the purpose of the arrangements, she added: “I think the objective is to make it more difficult to make the journey and make crossing the borders … more difficult.”
The questions for Psaki came on the heels of earlier remarks by White House official Tyler Moran, who discussed the immigration and border security issues more broadly during an MSNBC appearance.
“We’ve secured agreements for them to put more troops on their own border,” he said on Monday morning. “Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala have all agreed to do this. That not only is going to prevent the traffickers and the smugglers and cartels that take advantage of the kids on their way here but also to protect those children.”
As the New York Post noted, the “Trump-esque” arrangements appeared to be “taking a page out” of the prior administration’s immigration playbook. In 2019, Trump and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reached a remarkably similar deal that led to thousands of Mexican police officers and troops being deployed on that nation’s border with Guatemala.
Amid a surge in immigration since Biden’s inauguration, his relaxed security measures have faced mounting scrutiny and blame for exacerbating the situation.