Incoming left-wing Mexican president could be ‘bad news’ for US on border crisis: expert

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One top expert on Latin America is warning that Mexico’s incoming president is likely to be more of the same and “bad news” for the United States when it comes to cooperation on issues like border security.

Claudia Sheinbaum is projected to win Mexico’s presidential election and succeed outgoing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Sheinbaum’s Morena Party was also projected to hold majorities in both chambers of Congress. 

President Biden said Monday that “I congratulate Claudia Sheinbaum on her historic election as the first woman President of Mexico” and that he looks forward “to working closely with President-elect Sheinbaum in the spirit of partnership and friendship that reflects the enduring bonds between our two countries.”

“I also congratulate the Mexican people for conducting a nationwide successful democratic electoral process involving races for more than 20,000 positions at the local, state, and federal levels,” Biden added.


Claudia Sheinbaum

President-elect Claudia Sheinbaum waves to supporters at the Zocalo, Mexico Citys main square, after the National Electoral Institute announced she held an irreversible lead in the election on Monday, June 3. (AP/Marco Ugarte)

Andres Martinez-Fernandez, a senior policy analyst for Latin America at The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for National Security, warned in a press call that Sheinbaum is a left-wing activist who is unlikely to drift from AMLO’s tough stance toward the U.S.

“Claudia Sheinbaum is a progressive, and really has a background as an activist/academic, [who] has come up through, the ranks of the Mexican left, and, comes from an established family in the Mexican left,” he said.

In particular, Mexico and the U.S. have not always seen eye to eye on the question of illegal immigration coming across the U.S. border. While the Biden administration has hailed a number of areas of cooperation with Mexico, AMLO has also attacked Republican politicians, threatening an “information campaign” against them. He has also falsely claimed that fentanyl is not produced in Mexico. 


Migrants who crossed the Rio Grande at the southern border

Migrants who crossed the Rio Grande and entered the U.S. from Mexico are lined up for processing by Customs and Border Protection, Sept. 23, 2023, in Eagle Pass, Texas.  (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

“We can expect a lot of the same as far as U.S.-Mexico relations and U.S. policies, on issues that are of top concern to the United States and and have direct impact on the United States,” Martinez-Fernandez said.

“And in general, that’s bad news because we have seen the Lopez Obrador administration, whether it’s on security, whether it’s on trade, on migration, and other issues, narcocorruption, a very poor partner in the Lopez Obrador administration for the United States, where we see a deterioration of cooperation across the board,” he said. “And the occasional cooperation that we do see, for example on migration where we’ve seen increased actions, it’s very political and it’s very transient and transactional.”


He said Sheinbaum would likely “stay the course” and provide continuity from the Lopez Obrador administration, in part due to the current president’s ongoing presence.

“Even if there is a willingness or a desire on her part to see a change and that some in the U.S. are kind of hopeful about that. I really think that there’s not going to be much room for her to be able to implement that again because, AMLO is always going to be basically looming large over the Sheinbaum administration, playing a very active role, I expect behind the scenes to make sure that there’s continuity,” he said.

He also warned that she is likely to listen more to the left-wing in Mexico.


“She’s going to be much more responsive to the voices on the Mexican left who are less willing to see aggressive actions against migrants and more open to, to support and, and, and, willing to, to see those, movements continue,” he said.

The remarks came as President Biden is expected to unveil executive actions on Tuesday to tackle illegal immigration at the border. But, depending on what those actions are, he may need the cooperation of Mexico to do so. 

Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.

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