President Biden touted new joint efforts between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada to curb illegal border crossings at a summit on Tuesday.
“There can no longer be any question, none, in today’s interconnected world – we cannot wall ourselves off from shared problems,” Biden said alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
“We are stronger and better when we work together, the three of us, and together we’ve made enormous progress.”
López Obrador praised Biden’s approach to immigration and thanked him for halting construction of the wall along the southern border.
“You are the first President of the United States in a very long time that has not built even one meter of wall,” López Obrador told Biden on Tuesday. “And we thank you for that, sir, although some might not like it, although the conservatives don’t like it.”
Back at the president’s vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, a taxpayer-funded wall started being constructed last week. That barrier, consisting of tall white fencing and gray stone pillars, is expected to be completed in September.
Biden repeatedly pledged on the campaign trail that “not another foot” of border would be built in his administration.
Despite that, the Biden administration authorized the completion of some gaps in the border wall in Yuma, Arizona, last July. More recently, the administration sued Arizona to stop the state from using shipping containers to create a barrier at the border.
There were a record 2.3 million migrant encounters at the border in fiscal year 2022, a trend that has not slowed down in 2023.
Biden acknowledged “unprecedented levels of migration” at the North American Leaders’ Summit on Tuesday.
“On my way here, I stopped in El Paso, Texas, to see the situation with my own eyes and to meet with U.S. border security officials,” Biden said Tuesday. “It’s putting real strain on the communities in both Mexico and the United States.”