Bloomberg — Days before the Three Amigos summit in Washington, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has a new pitch for his plan to have the U.S. greatly expand migrant visas: North America desperately needs workers and Mexico has them in spades.
“There can’t be economic growth without a workforce,” Lopez Obrador said at a press briefing Friday. “We have lots of things in our favor as a region. Perhaps the most important thing is our workforce, young, creative. That’s why we need to treat the migration topic differently. That is my proposal.”
AMLO, as the president is known, said he would raise the issue at his Nov. 18 meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, known as the Three Amigos summit.
Several industries in the U.S. have been hit by worker shortages amid a global economic recovery. Mexico is planning on making the case for a major guest worker program in the U.S. to alleviate some of that pressure during the trilateral meeting, according to one Mexican official with direct knowledge of the matter who asked not to be named discussing internal policies.
AMLO has called for immigration to be regulated amid a record number of encounters between U.S. officials and travelers trying to illegally cross the border from Mexico.
The president first made his proposal to Biden for a work visa program during a virtual meeting in March. At the time he said he wanted the U.S. to accept between 600,000 and 800,000 Mexicans and Central Americans annually for a guest worker plan he likened to the World War II-era Bracero Program.
The U.S. has not publicly weighed in on AMLO’s proposal since then. Even with a worker shortage, expanding migrant access to visas would be politically difficult for Biden given growing anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S.