U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris told Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador during a recent virtual meeting on border security that the U.S. would send surplus coronavirus vaccines to Mexico once health officials approve them for use.
Harris “told us they are very willing to deliver to countries that don’t have vaccines what they’ve accumulated from the AstraZeneca vaccine,” the Mexican president, known as AMLO, told reporters Tuesday.
“But before making those shipments, they are carrying out tests on the vaccines because they don’t want to send something that’s not in good condition, that they’re not vaccines which have expired,” he said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration halted production at the U.S. plant in Baltimore, which had been manufacturing COVID-19 [coronavirus disease] vaccines for AstraZeneca and for Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) while it investigated issues that led to millions of doses being ruined.
U.S. regulators have not yet authorized the AstraZeneca vaccine for use in America.
VP Harris, tapped by President Joe Biden to lead the White House response to the crisis at the U.S. southern border by addressing the root causes of migration, offered the vaccines during a virtual meeting with the Mexican president last Friday. The White House readout of the conversation suggested was primarily focused on immigration.
The Biden administration’s vaccine gift could be seen as a quid pro quo — a means to motivate Mexico to intensify immigration enforcement.
Mexico immigration enforcement appears to be intensifying as U.S. ships more vaccines (not a quid pro quo) https://t.co/v7ZtJl2Sai
— Nick Miroff (@NickMiroff) May 12, 2021
So far, the Mexican immigration authorities appear to be primarily targeting illegal migrants from Central America.
CBP April numbers show apprehensions of single adults from Mexico rose again to levels not seen since 2000s.
The number of Mexican nationals taken into CBP custody was nearly 3x higher than May 2019, a very busy month.
Mexico boosting enforcement, but only for CentAm migrants. pic.twitter.com/a6gVWWGbq0
— Nick Miroff (@NickMiroff) May 13, 2021
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data for April shows arrests of single adults from Mexico increased to levels not seen since the 2000s.
The number of Mexican nationals apprehended by CBP in April was nearly three times higher than in May 2019, a hectic month during the last migration surge.
Overall, the number of migrants encountered by CBP agents reached record levels in April, suggesting Mexico is not doing much to secure its southern border and stem the migrant surge at the U.S. southern border.
On Tuesday, Breitbart Texas reported:
The number of migrants encountered by officers and agents operating under U.S. Customs and Border Protection along the southwest border with Mexico jumped for the 11th straight month. In April, Border Patrol agents and CBP officers encountered more than 178,000 migrants — a nearly 945 percent increase over the same month in 2020.
The White House readout of the virtual meeting between Lopez Obrador and Harris last Friday did not explicitly discuss the vaccines.
AMLO says that @VP Harris gave a “favorable” response to Mexico’s request for additional AstraZeneca vaccine doses. The original White House readout of the AMLO/Harris zoom meeting only dealt with migration issues.
— José Díaz-Briseño (@diazbriseno) May 11, 2021
However, it noted that the two leaders “recognized the need to work together to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The shipment promised by Harris is in addition to some 2.7 million AstraZeneca doses the United States shipped to Mexico in March.
Earlier this month, the Mexican president revealed that the United States would probably send his country 5 million more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The company conceded production had suffered multiple setbacks in Latin America.
Even the Democrat-allied Washington Post has acknowledged President Biden’s reliance on Mexico for border security has given Mexico even more leverage over the U.S.
Members of both parties criticized Biden for not offering any solutions to the border crisis.
Lopez Obrador and some of his counterparts in Central America blamed President Biden’s welcoming message for migrants for the border crisis.
An AP-NORC survey released Monday revealed that while most Americans approve of President Biden’s overall job in the White House, the commander-in-chief’s numbers are underwater on immigration.
Biden’s approval on immigration stands at 43-54 percent.