WASHINGTON — President Biden spoke with his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, about cooperating on migration policy as the U.S. leader continues to deliberate whether to take executive action that would crack down on the number of migrants arriving at the southern U.S. border.

The call occurred on Sunday at Biden’s request, López Obrador said during his daily news conference Monday in Mexico City. In a joint statement, Biden and López Obrador said the call centered on their joint efforts to “effectively manage” migration and “strengthen operational efficiency” on the U.S.-Mexico border.


President Biden waves as he walks out of the White House in Washington on April 25, before departing on a trip to New York. Susan Walsh/Associated Press

“We talk periodically,” López Obrador said. “I seek him out, he seeks me out, we chat.”

The Mexican leader said the two countries have made progress in controlling unauthorized migration by persuading many migrants not to use illegal methods to move from country to country. López Obrador also applauded a January decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that allowed Border Patrol agents to resume cutting razor wire that the state of Texas had installed along the border to try and deter migration.

The joint statement said that Biden and López Obrador have directed their national security aides to “immediately” put in place concrete measures to reduce the number of unauthorized border crossings, although the governments did not elaborate what those steps would be. The policies would also protect human rights, according to the statement.

Since the collapse of border legislation in Congress earlier this year, the White House has not ruled out Biden issuing an executive order on asylum rules to try and reduce the number of migrants arriving at the U.S. southern border. Any unilateral action would likely lean on a president’s authority under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which offers broad powers to block entry of certain immigrants if doing so is deemed detrimental to the national interest.

Administration officials have been poring over various options for months, but Biden has made no decision on how to proceed with any executive actions. White House aides have also seen little immediate urgency for the president to take any action, considering the number of illegal border crossings have declined since a record high of 250,000 in December as Mexican officials stepped up their enforcement efforts.


Verza reported from Mexico City.

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