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Mexican Foreign Minister urges US to regularise migrants' legal status

IANS | February 27, 2024 11:07 AM

MEXICO: Highlighting the importance of Mexican migrant workers to the US economy, Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena has again urged Washington to regularise their legal status.

Addressing a press conference, Alicia Barcena said Mexicans working in the US contribute over $324 billion annually to the nation's economy in such essential sectors as agriculture, services and construction, Xinhua news agency reported.

"The regularisation of Mexicans is not unprecedented. In 1986, 3 million Mexicans were regularised, " she said.

Mexico is requesting the US to make "a similar and fair gesture" to regularise undocumented Mexicans who have worked there for more than five years, including half a million young people protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act.

The influx of migrants at the US-Mexico border rose to unprecedented levels at the end of 2023.

In December 2023, US Customs and Border Protection recorded nearly 250, 000 encounters with migrants crossing the US-Mexico border, the highest monthly total on record.

To curb mass emigration, the US needs to approve a budget of 20 billion dollars annually to promote development in Latin America and the Caribbean, Barcena said, calling on Washington to lift its sanctions on Venezuela and trade embargo against Cuba.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has already proposed these measures to his US counterpart Joe Biden, along with others, such as controlling the flow of US weapons into Mexico, said the minister.

According to the foreign ministry, Mexico is one of the few countries that has to grapple with all phases of the immigration cycle, from being a source of migrants to being a transit country, a destination and a point of return for deportees.

There are 37.3 million Mexicans living in the United States, with some 5.3 million being undocumented, according to the Mexican government.

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