Biden sends envoys to Mexico, Guatemala for help on migrant flow 

WION Web Team
Washington   Published: Mar 22, 2021, 11:40 PM(IST)

Joe Biden Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

President Joe Biden dispatched US envoys, including White House border coordinator Roberta Jacobson, to the two countries on Monday for talks on how to manage the increase in the number of migrants heading for the US-Mexican border

US officials will ask authorities in Mexico and Guatemala to help stem migrant traffic, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday, as the Biden administration struggles to contain a burgeoning humanitarian challenge along the US border with Mexico. 

President Joe Biden dispatched US envoys, including White House border coordinator Roberta Jacobson, to the two countries on Monday for talks on how to manage the increase in the number of migrants heading for the US-Mexican border. 

When asked if the US delegation would seek support from local officials, Psaki told a news briefing, "Absolutely, part of our objective as Roberta Jacobson...conveyed when she was in here just a few weeks ago, was that we need to work in partnership with these countries to address the root causes in their countries to convey clearly and systematically that this is not the time to travel." 

Jacobson was joined by Juan Gonzalez, the National Security Council’s senior director for the Western Hemisphere, and Honduran-born diplomat Ricardo Zuniga, just appointed by the State Department as the Northern Triangle special envoy. 

Gonzalez will continue to Guatemala to meet Guatemalan officials, as well as representatives from civil society and non-governmental organisations. 

Biden’s promise to end former President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies has been complicated by a recent spike in the number of migrants crossing the border illegally. 

The increase in the number of migrants fleeing violence, natural disasters and economic hardship in Central America is testing Biden’s commitment to a more humane immigration policy. 

White House spokeswoman Emily Horne said Jacobson's goal in Mexico is developing 'an effective and humane plan of action to manage migration'. 

The visit was also announced by Mexico's foreign ministry, which said the talks would take place on Tuesday. 

Gonzalez' aim in Guatemala is to ''address root causes of migration in the region and build a more hopeful future in the region," Horne said. 

US officials are struggling to house and process an increasing number of unaccompanied children, many of whom have been stuck in jail-like border stations for days while they await placement in overwhelmed government-run shelters. 

(With inputs from agencies) 

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