AMLO and Biden: Agents of Immigration Chaos

U.S.-Mexico security relations will only improve when AMLO and Biden both leave office

By Phillip Linderman on May 26, 2023

During recent congressional hearings about drug trafficking across our southern border, a frustrated Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) threw out some harsh comments about Mexico in decrying the lack of bilateral law enforcement cooperation. Kennedy should have omitted the obiter dicta, which served only to rile up our southern neighbor’s touchy President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (often called AMLO).

Ideological and thin-skinned, AMLO fired back at the junior senator from Louisiana, declaring him persona non grata and urging all Mexicans residing in the United States to “never vote” for Kennedy. The rhetorical fireworks obfuscated the main point, of course, which is that Lopez Obrador defiantly refuses to engage in any consequential bilateral security cooperation, and the White House’s open-border migration policies have made a bad situation dramatically worse.

AMLO’s reaction to Kennedy was entirely predictable from a Mexican president who has proclaimed 2023 to be the year of Francisco “Pancho” Villa. Even for many Mexicans, AMLO’s desire to celebrate Villa has given pause. Despite the machista revolutionary’s dubious Robin Hood record, President Lopez Obrador is honoring Villa as the year’s “Hero of the Mexican Revolution,” shedding light both on the president’s unenlightened nationalism and his unwillingness to seek meaningful security cooperation with the gringos.

Still, over fifty members of the Mexican Congress symbolically refused to go along in honoring the bloodthirsty Villa. As one Mexican wag tweeted in response to AMLO: “[Villa] was a murdering rapist, a real drug trafficker at the time of the Revolution. [No surprise] they chose him as the character of 2023.”

Given the nature of the irascible Mexican president, it was entirely predictable that the Biden administration would find it hard to work with him. While the border-focused Trump White House had successfully used tariff leverage to push AMLO, President Biden was unwilling to continue that kind of hard-nosed, but consequential, diplomacy.

Instead, the Biden administration tried to engage AMLO through a so-called “U.S.-Mexico Bicentennial Framework,” which has turned out to be a series of empty diplomatic meetings. In the face of well-known security vulnerabilities on our southern frontier, Biden national security officials, led by the Eurocentric Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, not only discarded Trump’s strong-border strategy, but they also underestimated the growing power of Mexican cartels to export their criminal activity northward.

In this fragile bilateral security environment, President Biden caved to his party’s open-border extremists. The timing could not have been worse for Mexico. Repudiating Trump, the Biden administration internationally trumpeted a new “welcoming” approach on the southern frontier, irresponsibly drawing millions of foreign nationals to the U.S. border. This policy offered Mexican cartels a criminal bonanza of clandestine migrants to commercialize.


[Read the rest at The American Conservative]