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  • Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) will unveil A new program to deter migration on Friday.

    Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) will unveil A new program to deter migration on Friday. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 December 2018

Mexico's President Lopez Obrador talks with U.S. President DonaldTrump and says will introduce new program on Friday to deter migration in the region.

Mexico’s newly inaugurated President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) announced by Twitter that he had a “respectful and friendly” conversation with his United States counterpart, Donald Trump, about job creation in Central America and Mexico to benefit members of the Central American Exodus, or migrant caravan.

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AMLO reported Wednesday night that he and Trump talked by phone “in respectful and friendly terms” to deal with the issue of migration and the possibility of applying a joint program for the development and creation of jobs in Central America and Mexico.

Lopez Obrador made humane “comprehensive” immigration policy a central tenet of his campaign platform in 2018 and signed a deal with the leaders of the Northern Triangle countries (Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador) to create “programs (and) projects ... in order to create jobs and fight poverty in the region,” just hours after being sworn in on Dec. 1.

The pact is backed by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL).

Also present during the call was AMLO’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, who met with his counterpart, Mike Pompeo on Dec. 3.  

Today we talked by phone with president Donald Trump. We talked in a respectful and friendly manner about migration and the possibility to implement a joint program to develop and create employment in Central America and our country.

Mexico’s head of state will also announce his administration’s immigration policy and "new instruments" for Central Americans to access jobs in the country. 

As early as last July AMLO proposed to curb migration by addressing its root causes in a plan that would include the U.S., Mexico, and Central American countries,  where each “would contribute according to the size of its economy,” said the then-presidential candidate.

“We could collect a considerable amount of resources for the development of the region where 75 percent would be directed to finance projects to create jobs and fight poverty, and the remaining 25 percent, [would be directed to] border control and security. In this way, I reiterate, we would be addressing the causes that originate the migratory phenomenon,” proposed AMLO several months ago.

The director of the nation’s Institute of Migration (INM), Tonatiuh Guillen Lopez told reporters at a press conference this week that the government will open up work opportunities for Northern Triangle citizens to work in Mexico’s southern states.

"The government's proposal is to open … the labor market.” The official added that migrants and refugees should “not be criminalized;” a regular practice among destination countries .

"President Trump has been the champion in denouncing the migrant caravan as criminals, but this has nothing to do with reality (that this is) a humanitarian crisis" Lopez said.

RELATED: 
3,300 Exodus Migrants Fleeing 'War Zones-Like Conditions' Seek Asylum in Mexico

As AMLO tweeted about "friendly" relations with the U.S., Trump shouted over Twitter at the same time, “MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL!”

Five migrant caravans have departed from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador since Oct. 12, trekking to Tijuana, Mexico in just over a month. The thousands of Central American asylum seekers have been accused by U.S. President Trump of being ‘criminal invaders’ as they made the dangerous journey to escape overwhelming poverty, violence and climate change within their home countries.

According to the 2017 International Migration Report, world migration rose from 173 million in 2000 to 220 million in 2010, then 258 million last year.

Andres Ramirez Silva, director of the Mexican Commission for Aid to Refugees (Comar), said this week that about 3,000 Exodus refugees remain in temporary shelters in Tijuana and another 1,200 are in Mexicali, Mexico along the U.S. border waiting to enter the country.

Silva added that an estimated 1,100 “may have crossed into the United States."

Since the Exodus entered Mexico on Oct. 19, about 3,700 of them have requested asylum in the country, according to Silva. In 2018 there were 26,000 asylum applications, that is three times more than in 2014.

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