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Biden, López Obrador to meet ahead of North American summit

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — President Joe Biden will continue his U.S.-Mexico relations Monday with a meeting at the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City with President Andres Manuel López Obrador, following his first trip to the border as president 

In the lead-up to the trip, Biden announced a major border policy shift, with Mexico’s blessing, that will result in the United States sending 30,000 migrants from four other countries per month back across the border.

In Mexico, López Obrador’s security forces nabbed one of the sons of imprisoned former Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, touching off violence that left 30 dead and dozens injured. The son, Ovidio Guzmán, is a reputed drug trafficker wanted by the United States.

The two presidents, along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, will gather in Mexico City on Monday and Tuesday for a North American leaders summit. Even with progress on the migration issue, there is much to discuss: climate change, manufacturing, trade, the economy and the potential global clout of a more collaborative North America.

Biden arrives at the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City on Monday afternoon and the presidents will meet before Trudeau joins them for dinner. Biden and Trudeau will hold talks Tuesday and then the three will gather for discussions.

Biden hopes to use the summit “to keep driving North America’s economic competitiveness and help promote inclusive growth and prosperity,” said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

For the U.S., the major talking points are migration, drug trafficking and building on Biden’s push on electric vehicles and manufacturing.

López Obrador is focused on economic integration for North America, supporting the poor in the Americas and regional relationships that put all governments on equal footing.

The U.S. and Mexico are expected to continue discussions about ending a dispute over U.S. corn after Mexico announced it would ban imports of genetically modified corn. In addition, Mexico is seeking money to boost solar energy projects.

As for Canada, the goal is simply “to carve some attention and space in this summit,” said Louise Blais, a longtime Canadian diplomat.

On Sunday, Biden spent four hours in El Paso, Texas, the longest he’s spent along the U.S-Mexico line. The day was highly controlled and seemed designed to showcase a smooth operation to process migrants entering legally, weed out smuggled contraband and humanely treat those who’ve entered illegally, creating a counter-narrative to Republicans’ claims of a crisis situation equivalent to an open border.

Biden encountered no migrants except when his motorcade drove alongside the border and about a dozen lined up on the Ciudad Juárez side in Mexico. His visit did not include time at a Border Patrol station, where migrants who cross illegally are arrested and held before their release.

The number of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has risen dramatically during Biden’s first two years in office. There were more than 2.38 million stops during the year that ended Sept. 30, the first time the number topped 2 million. The administration has struggled to clamp down on crossings, reluctant to take measures that would resemble those of former President Trump’s administration.

From Texas, Biden headed south to Mexico City. López Obrador will formally welcome Biden at the Palacio Nacional on Monday, the first time since 2014 Mexico has hosted a U.S. president. The two will meet before Trudeau joins them for dinner.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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