Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador AFP

When asked about the most important ways to deal with the surging migratory flows throughout The Americas and toward the United States, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (commonly known as AMLO) talks about addressing root causes, rather than deterring measures to prevent people from reaching the country's southern border.

Speaking to CBS News' 60 Minutes, AMLO criticized House Speaker Mike Johnson for telling President Joe Biden to pressure Mexico because "we are the United States." Calling him "disrespectful," the president added that "instead of seeking to dialogue and addressing the root causes they use Mexico to claim (the migratory crisis) is our fault, that it starts here."

The Mexican president outlined in December a series of measures he believed the U.S. should implement to start moving toward that goal: a plan that would see $20 billion in investment to Latin America and the Caribbean, suspend the US. 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.

None of those items have materialized, but January did see a 50% decrease in encounters at the border. And while part of that figure could be attributed to seasonal factors, Mexican enforcement might have played a role as well, following a series of high-level meetings with U.S. officials at the end of last year.

Among the actions taken after said meetings: they have been forcing migrants from freight trains they have used to get closer to its northern border, taking them back south via buses and carrying out deportation flights as well. Moreover, members of the country's military and national guard were patrolling the banks of the Río Grande in January.

More recently, Mexico also reached an agreement with Venezuela to deport migrants and arranged deals with Mexican and Venezuelan companies to hire the, according to Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena.

In another passage of the interview, AMLO also criticized Texas Governor Greg Abbott, whose administration is immersed in a legal fight aimed at getting judicial authorization to implement a controversial migration law known as SB4, which allows state authorities to arrest and deport migrants crossing illegally into its territory.

"He wants to be a vice presidential candidate (for the Republican Party). So he goes to the Río Bravo and puts up razor wire, he makes a show. That's opportunism, cheap politicking," added AMLO about another measure taken by the Abbott administration, also contested by the Justice Department.

At the US-Mexico Border
Members of the Texas Army National Guard extend razor wire to inhibit migrants from crossing, as seen from Ciudad Juárez. Reuters

In that context, the Mexican president 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 concluded.

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