Donald Trump.
Donald Trump. Creative Commons

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump rejected any investment in Latin America and the Caribbean aimed at addressing the root causes of migration, saying regional leaders wouldn't even dare to ask him for it given his stance on the issue.

Speaking to Fox News, Trump was asked about statements made by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (commonly known as AMLO) about the U.S. needing to invest $20 billion in the region for these purposes.

"It's very simple: lack of respect for the president. They would never say that to me. They would never ask it. I wouldn't give them 10 cents," Trump said.

He was reacting to an interview the Mexican President gave to CBS News' "60 Minutes," where he said that migration to the country will continue unless the region gets the necessary investment to achieve economic development that will allow for the people to stay in their countries.

He has also asked for the U.S. to suspend the blockade of Cuba, remove sanctions against Venezuela and grant at least 10 million Hispanics living in the U.S. the right to remain and work legally.

"If you support people in their places of origin, the migratory flow reduces considerably, but that requires resources and that is what the United States government has not wanted to do," said López Obrador.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador AFP

The Mexican President also said that despite his rhetoric against migrants and threats to conduct mass-deportation operations, Donald Trump wouldn't fully close the border with Mexico should he win the presidency in November's elections: "He needs Mexico," he said.

"Because we understood each other very well, we signed an economic, a commercial agreement that has been favorable for both peoples, for both nations. He knows it. And President Biden is the same," added AMLO, in reference to the fact that last year Mexico became the U.S.' top trading partner.

"There are factories in Mexico and there are factories in the United States that are fundamental for all the consumers in the United States and all the consumers in Mexico," López Obrador added.

Even without the investment, Mexico has become a key factor when it comes to the number of migrants reaching the U.S. southern border. The number of apprehensions has dropped over the past few months, and even though seasonal factors must be taken into account, enforcement from Mexican authorities seems to be playing a role as well.

An illustrative example is the fact that Venezuelan migrants attempting to reach the U.S. are increasingly getting stuck in Mexico, unable to continue their journey and with no perspective to do so in the near future, according to a report by The Associated Press.

U.S. authorities have been recording fewer apprehensions at the border over the past two months, with Venezuelans accounting for a significant part of the drop. Concretely, there were 3,184 arrests in February and 4,422 in January, compared to almost 50,000 in December.

Efforts by the AMLO administration are aimed at keeping migrants closer to its southern border, which it shares with Guatemala. They include forcing people from trains and flying and busing them back south. Some have even been flown to Venezuela.

Moreover, Mexico reached an agreement with Venezuela to deport migrants and with large companies operating in the country to employ others. Among the companies are brewers Empresas Polar and state oil firm PDVSA, as well as Mexican food company Bimbo and retailer FEMSA.

Mexico said it would also give about $110 a month over a six-month period to all Venezuelan migrants deported in an attempt to deter them from returning. The offer was also extended to Ecuadorians and Colombians.

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