Mexico agreed on Tuesday to invest $1.5 billion in technology at its border with the US following a meeting between President Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
In a joint statement released by the White House, the two leaders said they would fund a joint infrastructure effort to improve security and efficiency at the southern border.
The statement said that the bipartisan infrastructure law Biden signed into law last fall would contribute $3.4 billion to 26 modernization projects at land ports of entry and that Mexico agreed to invest $1.5 billion in “border infrastructure” over the next two years.
“Borders that are more resilient, more efficient, and safer, will enhance our shared commerce,” the joint statement read. “We are committed like never before to completing a multi-year joint US-Mexico border infrastructure modernization effort for projects along the 2,000-mile border.”
“The joint effort seeks to align priorities, unite border communities, and make the flow of commerce and people more secure and efficient,” the statement continued.
Biden and López Obrador met in the Oval Office earlier Tuesday to discuss a wide range of issues not limited to migration and border security.
Biden, who has withstood criticism for the record number of border crossings under his administration, touted his efforts to disrupt drug traffickers and human smuggling networks.
“We’ve had a major anti-smuggling operation underway since April, targeting human smugglers who traffic in people, drugs and weapons,” Biden said. “Towards this effort, we’ve deployed 1,300 additional personnel, conducted 20,000 disruption operations, and we’ve made over 3,000 arrests, all since April.”
The statement released later Tuesday also said that the two leaders agreed to improve supply chains, address climate change and ease inflation through actions on trade.
Biden and López Obrador also reiterated efforts to crack down on human smuggling networks, citing the recent deaths of 53 migrants in a tractor-trailer in San Antonio.
The two leaders appeared to have a friendly meeting on Tuesday, despite López Obrador at times publicly criticizing the US López Obrador also met separately with Vice President Harris, who is leading US efforts to address the root causes of migration.
The meetings took place about a month after López Obrador boycotted the Summit of the Americas hosted by the US after Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela were not invited.