At a summit on Tuesday, President Biden praised new joint efforts between the United States, Mexico, and Canada to reduce illegal border crossings.
“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 lauded Biden’s approach to immigration and thanked him for halting the construction of the border wall.
“You are the first President of the United States in a very long time that has not built even one meter of wall. And we thank you for that, sir, although some might not like it, although the conservatives don’t like it,” López Obrador told Biden on Tuesday.
A taxpayer-funded wall was started last week at the president’s vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The barrier, which will be made up of tall white fencing and gray stone pillars, is expected to be finished in September.
On the campaign trail, Biden repeatedly stated that “not another foot” of the border would be built during his presidency.
Despite this, in July of last year, the Biden administration authorized the completion of some gaps in the border wall in Yuma, Arizona. Recently, the administration sued Arizona to prevent the state from using shipping containers to build a border barrier.
In the fiscal year 2022, there were a record 2.3 million migrant encounters at the border, a trend that has not abated in the fiscal year 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.”