Political Change in Mexico: Implications for the U.S. Border Crisis

Parsing Immigration Policy, Episode 158

By Mark Krikorian and Christopher Landau on June 6, 2024

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In this week’s episode of Parsing Immigration Policy, Christopher Landau, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, joins us to discuss the election of Claudia Sheinbaum as the new president of Mexico. Amb. Landau discusses the implications of Sheinbaum’s election for U.S. immigration policy and U.S.-Mexico relations.

Landau describes Sheinbaum as the protege of the current president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (commonly known as AMLO), and anticipates that she will continue seeking cooperation with Washington. Given that most migrants attempting entry into the U.S. now originate from countries other than Mexico, there exists a mutual incentive for such cooperation. Mexico does not want millions of foreign nationals to use their country as a “doormat” to the U.S.

Landau also discusses how the Biden administration, by refusing to enforce immigration law, reduced Mexico’s enthusiasm for cooperation. This has changed recently due to the “Biden administration...paying Mexico vast sums of money to try to control migratory flows [and] dampen the border as an election year issue.” Such an arrangement allows Biden to virtue-signal to his pro-immigration base while delegating the responsibility of dealing with the border crisis to the Mexican government.

While expressing concern over the lack of transparency in the current administration’s approach, Landau suggests that, should Trump win re-election, consistent cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico on stemming migrant flows is possible going forward.

In his closing commentary, Mark Krikorian, the Center’s Executive Director and podcast host, highlights the new border policy announced by President Biden this week. He characterizes the proclamation as a “phony” political stunt designed to provide the president with a talking point for the presidential debate scheduled for this month, and for the rest of the campaign. He predicts that it will likely face legal challenges from left-wing NGOs, likely resulting in its injunction by the courts, allowing Biden to claim that he tried to fix the border crisis, but was obstructed by both the courts and congressional Republicans.


Mark Krikorian is the Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies.


Christopher Landau is the former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.


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Intro Montage

Voices in the opening montage:

  • Sen. Barack Obama at a 2005 press conference.
  • Sen. John McCain in a 2010 election ad.
  • President Lyndon Johnson, upon signing the 1965 Immigration Act.
  • Booker T. Washington, reading in 1908 from his 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech.
  • Laraine Newman as a "Conehead" on SNL in 1977.
  • Hillary Clinton in a 2003 radio interview.
  • Cesar Chavez in a 1974 interview.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to reporters in 2019.
  • Prof. George Borjas in a 2016 C-SPAN appearance.
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions in 2008 comments on the Senate floor.
  • Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes".