The Mexican government has agreed to provide roughly $1.5 billion toward a host of new construction projects along the U.S.-Mexico border to strengthen the U.S.’s ability to screen and process migrants, a White House official said Tuesday.
The agreement was discussed Tuesday when Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador met with President Joe Biden at the White House.
Former President Donald Trump campaigned on the promise of building a new border wall that he would get Mexico to pay for. While the Trump administration did build hundreds of miles of new and renovated border wall, the Mexican government did not pay for it.
Now, Mexico has agreed to pay for a number of projects through a joint multiyear effort along the countries’ borders, including “modernizing” ports of entry and enhancing screening processes of immigrants trying to cross from Mexico to the U.S. The exact details of the new projects are still being worked out, but, the official said, the new agreement will not result in the building of any kind of wall or border barrier.
The goal of the new projects will be to improve the speed and security of border screening, not necessarily to deter migrants from crossing, the official said.
Border Patrol agents encountered over 239,000 migrants crossing the southern border in May, the highest monthly total on record.
Julia Ainsley is a correspondent covering the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice for the NBC News Investigative Unit.