Mexico’s AMLO downplays Trump’s immigration claims following Iowa victory

By January 17, 2024

Mexico City, Mexico — Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday reacted to former United States President Donald Trump’s victory in the Iowa caucuses over the weekend, downplaying the US leader’s anti-immigration rhetoric as pandering to his voting base. 

During his morning briefing, López Obrador said that Trump’s anti-immigration campaign speeches are a political move to attract conservatives. 

“They think that this way they get votes,” he said. 

He added, “Many things are expressed in campaigns to try to win votes, however, the borders between Mexico and the United States cannot be closed. The border cannot be closed because economic-social integration is fundamental; good neighborliness is indispensable.”

During Trump’s time in office, economic relations between the two countries remained close despite disagreements on immigration. In 2020, the two countries, along with Canada, signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a trade agreement which replaced NAFTA, and more recently, López Obrador was one of the first world leaders to speak out in support of Trump amid his legal troubles in the US. 

“There is really no problem. With President Trump, we only had a difference regarding the management of the border [and the US] trying to unilaterally establish tariffs and taxes on Mexican goods entering the United States,” said López Obrador during his press conference. 

“Nevertheless, an agreement was reached. That was the only thing … closing the border is not possible; it isn’t possible,” he added. 

US citizens will vote to elect a new president in November, and regardless of that outcome, that new leader will also be dealing with a new administration in Mexico. 

Mexico’s general elections will take place in July. Current front-runners include López Obrador’s party’s candidate and former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, and opposition candidate Xochitl Galvez.