US-Mexico relations strained as President Obrador demands $20 billion

The relationship between Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and President Joe Biden of the United States (US) is going through a tenuous phase since the former asked the United States to provide $20 billion to Mexico.

Mexico’s army takes over yet another civilian role — filling potholes. (Credits: KSGF, Facebook)
Mexico’s army takes over yet another civilian role — filling potholes. (Credits: KSGF, Facebook)

The relationship between Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and President Joe Biden of the United States (US) is going through a tenuous phase since the former asked the United States to provide $20 billion to Mexico, as well as other central and Latin American countries if the US wants them to help curb the illegal migrant problem.

Many observers have looked at several of President Obrador’s demands and claims, calling them outlandish and impractical. Some have gone as far as to call his demands ‘diplomatic blackmail’, as he has failed to come to the table to discuss the issue with the United States.

The government of Mexico continues to stand firm on its stance that it will help the United States tackle illegal migration only if its demands are met, which has resulted in a political stand-off between the two nations.

From President Obrador’s stand point, the United States must allocate $20 billion annually towards the Latin American and Caribbean region to address the baser causes of illegal migration into the United States. This amount will obviously come from tax-paying US citizens, which has become a bone of contention in the United States.

Donald Trump, the Former President of the United States, who is looking to step into the role once again by winning the upcoming presidential elections, spoke of the matter recently. In his statement, he highlighted the fact that President Obrador’s attitude and approach towards the United States and its President Joe Biden show a distinct lack of respect, which can not be accepted.

Public opinion within the United States does not stand with meeting the demands and ultimatums of Mexico, or any other state for that matter. The general consensus is that doing so will make the United States appear weak on the international stage and set a precedence which the nation can not sustain in the long run.

An American citizen speaking to the media stated the following regarding this development, “I don’t think we should pay their demands. It’s our issue they’re coming over, but it’s their issue for letting them come over. It would be like we are submitting to them.”

Having said that, there are some who have a different opinion on the matter and believe that the United States must bear more of the responsibility for the illegal migration issue.

A resident of Nashville, Tennessee named Chris stated the following, “It helps us, too. It benefits us, too. We spend money everywhere else, so why not?”

President Obrador warned the United States during an interview that migrants will continue to cross into the nation in large numbers if his demands continue to be ignored. Not only is he seeking $20 billion a year for Latin American countries, he has also asked US officials to end the Cuban embargo, legalise Hispanics who have been working and living in the United States for a decade or more and lift the sanctions placed on Venezuela.

The US government has been under significant scrutiny, especially since illegal migration surged after President Biden came into office.

The President of United States, Joe Biden. (Credits: Daily Wire, Facebook)
The President of United States, Joe Biden. (Credits: Daily Wire, Facebook)

In 2023, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data suggests that 2.4 million migration encounters were recorded which set a new record for a fiscal year. Comparatively, the number stood at 1.7 million in 2021 which is indicative of a sharp rise.

In December 2023, the record for migration encounters in a single month was also broken, as authorities recorded 302,000 incidents in a single month.

With the numbers rising consistently, questions have been raised about what the government of the United States is doing to counter the problem. Many citizens of the United States are displeased with the current state of affairs and have called for a much stauncher stance on illegal migration.

From a political stand point, with the elections approaching, Former President Donald Trump has already shown that he is willing to bring this issue up, amongst many others, highlighting the apparent ineptitude of the Biden administration.

Trump has been raising questions about President Biden’s mental faculties and whether he is capable of remaining as the leader of the Western superpower for a second term. He has also spoken of the questionable manner in which the United States left Afghanistan, the nation’s inability to sit down with President Putin of Russia to prevent the invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration’s approach to the conflict in Gaza and other key theatres in which the United States has failed to apply itself effectively according to him.

In his opinion, the United States under the leadership of President Biden is perceived to be weak by rivals on the international stage. This has resulted in them being emboldened and disregarding the influence of the US government in key international affairs, leading to chaos in various parts of the world.

Trump has brought up North Korea often, stating that his strongman approach towards the troubled state and its nuclear weapons program has been overshadowed by President Biden, who has allowed dictator Kim Jong Un to test missiles with impunity and carry the program forward to an extent which has put the United States and the rest of the world at risk.

While there definitely are mitigating circumstances, public opinion is not firmly in President Biden’s favour as many citizens recognize that more could have been done in the aforementioned cases to ensure that peace and stability prevail.