According to the New York Times, President Biden is “quietly pressing Mexico” to help decrease the flow of immigrants into the United States by using what leverage he's got - a move former President Trump pushed for as well, but for which was widely criticized.
The article points out that in talks with the Mexican government, Biden suggested that our neighbors to the south could do more to dampen the flow of illegal immigration to the U.S. In the same conversation, Biden spoke about the possibility that the U.S. could send certain amounts of a COVID vaccine to Mexico - two topics the White House claims weren't linked as a quid-pro-quo.
But while Trump was condemned for using leverage to strong-arm Mexico into helping deal with the migrant crisis, the New York Times' reporting has been largely sympathetic to Biden's methods.
For example, while the New York Times described Biden as "quietly pressing" Mexico to help stem the massive migrant flow, a July 2020 New York Times article declared Trump had "bullied and badgered the Mexican government with public threats." Another Times article referred to Trump's policies towards Mexico to limit immigration as a "relentless campaign to restrict immigration."
Here's the Times on Trump: "But many Mexicans have been angry at his decision to meet with Mr. Trump, especially given Mr. López Obrador’s consistent willingness to bend to the American president’s will."
And here's the Times on Biden: "Mr. Biden asked President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico in a video call this month whether more could be done to help solve the problem."
See the difference? Both President Biden and President Trump were trying to accomplish the same thing: limiting immigration. But while Trump was condemned, Biden is largely given a pass.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Thursday that the U.S. is planning on sending 1.5 million vaccine doses to Canada and 2.5 million to Mexico, but added that the plan is “not finalized yet, but that is our aim.”
The announcement comes during a growing immigration crisis at the border, with Border Patrol encountering some 100,000 immigrants in the month of February as a result of President Biden’s dismantling of several immigration policies created under the Trump Administration, including halting the construction of the Mexican border wall. On March 1, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that his constituents see President Biden as the “migrant president" despite the Biden administration telling potential migrants that now “is not the time to come.”
During a press briefing on Thursday, Psaki said that the potential gift of vaccine doses and immigration discussions are “unrelated” but “overlapping.” When asked if the vaccine doses potentially being sent to Mexico included “strings attached,” Psaki responded, “several diplomatic conversations — parallel conversations — many layers of conversations”
“There’s rarely just one issue you’re discussing with any country at one time,” she continued. “Certainly that’s not the case with Mexico. It’s not the case with any country around the world. And so I wouldn’t read into it more than our ability to provide — to lend — vaccine doses.”
A Biden administration official declined the New York Times' request for comment, but noted that Mexico and the U.S. are working together to reduce migration.