Remarks by Vice President Harris and President López Obrador of Mexico Before Bilateral Meeting
Vice President’s Ceremonial Office
1:56 P.M. EST
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Mr. President, it is my great honor to welcome you to Washington, D.C. and to the United States. I want to thank you again for the very warm welcome you gave me when we came to Mexico City five short months ago.
This meeting is a continuation of an ongoing conversation that you and I have had, fueled by friendship, fueled by partnership, fueled by the longstanding relationship between Mexico and the United States, and in recognition of all the work that we will do currently and that we pledge to do together in the future — together, working on the challenges that we face and also recognizing the opportunities that exist when we work together as countries in North America and as partners in the Western Hemisphere.
The conversations that we have had range in subject. I have enjoyed always the conversation that you and I have about history and the critical figures in history, both in Mexico and the United States, who have worked together.
But our conversation also extends to economic prosperity for both of our nations; the issue of our mutual concern about migration and what we will do as partners to address, in particular, the root causes of migration; and also what we can do on the issues of technology and the exploration of space.
All of these issues have been the subject of our discussions previously and will be ongoing.
And so, again, I welcome you. I thank you for traveling to be with us. I know the President is looking forward to his time with you.
I also want to thank you for the warm reception that you and the people of Mexico have given to Ken Salazar, our Ambassador to Mexico. I have known Ken Salazar — Ambassador Salazar — for a very long time, and we are very proud that he is the representative of the United States in Mexico.
And with that, again, welcome. And I look forward to the discussion we will have today.
PRESIDENT LÓPEZ OBRADOR: (As interpreted.) I want to thank you for your kind, warm welcome. Madam Vice President, it is a pleasure to meet you again, here in Washington, D.C.
I agree on the fact that you have a very good ambassador appointed to Mexico. We were talking a few minutes ago that we shouldn’t leave history aside, which is our teacher in life.
President Roosevelt was here. Before becoming President, he worked with the Secretary of the Navy Daniels. And it was a fortunate event for Mexico because time went by, President Roosevelt became the President of the United States, and he appointed Daniels, his former boss, Ambassador to the USA in Mexico.
And that was a relevant moment because it was President Lázaro Cárdenas’s administration, our best president in the 20th century — because the best president in Mexican history is Benito Juárez, from my standpoint.
So, it was helpful that Ambassador Daniels was the representative of the United States because he was a man of progress who understood why — the “why” behind President Cárdenas’s decisions. And, on top of that, President Roosevelt was his friend, which strengthened the relationship in such a way that it is of the utmost importance that the ambassadors appointed to Mexico, that the USA representatives in Mexico are people of trust, such as the current ambassador.
And we get along just fine. The relationship is very good. And since your visit to Mexico and we discussed different affairs, we have continued working jointly. The Secretary of Foreign Affairs has dealt with all things related — economics; our sovereignty; of course, the migratory issue, addressing the causes, which you understand.
We have to invest to foster employment and wellbeing in Central America so people do not find themselves in the need of migrating, and that migration is an option and not something that is enforced, something that is an obligation that they have to leave their hometowns, their families out of necessity or due to violence.
Hence, the importance of economic cooperation and investing in Central America, has — we will accomplish. We do have information that, as per our conversations, there’s already a plan in place set by the U.S. government to assist Central America, which we strongly commend you for.
And, on top of that, if economic integration is strengthened throughout North America, we will need to organize migratory flow, and several opportunities — job opportunities — will be created to promote growth throughout North America and so that North America produces what it uses, what it consumes, without having to depend on imports. We need to produce and manufacture in North America whatever we need. It is an ideal — and not only for North America, but throughout the entire continent.
Just as the European Union started out, which became the economic European Union afterwards, that needs to be our ideal: integration throughout the region. And we can leverage from the outstanding advantages that we have, such as this proximity. And right now, we are suffering from that because of the maritime fleet — prices have gone up.
So why don’t we take advantage of the proximity of the closeness between our countries and the fact that we have our own marketplace? There is high demand in the continent vis-à-vis other regions.
So I believe that — the economic integration of North America in sovereign terms, as well as to have integration throughout the Americas, in order to strengthen the region at the economic level. And we will.
With all due respect, tell President Biden that we celebrate that he sent a bill to Congress to regulate the migratory status of our immigrants. And hopefully, the congressmen and women of both political parties will help us out with that, because it is fair.
There are hardworking, honest people who have been living in the U.S. for a while now. I think there’s no such better initiative when it comes to the migratory conversation, and we will watch over this process regarding the bill submitted by President Biden, and we highly commend him for it.
I’ve spoken quite a bit now. I’m really glad to be here.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Thank you. It is good to see you. And I’m looking forward to our conversation. Thank you.
END 2:08 P.M. EST