Mexico's president presses Pompeo on reuniting migrant families

Mexico's president presses Pompeo on reuniting migrant families
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Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Friday urged Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wall Dems demand briefing, intel on North Korea nuclear talks Pompeo: US will not share information with countries using Huawei systems MORE to reunite migrant families who have been separated at the border, according to Mexico's top diplomat.

Peña Nieto’s remarks came after a meeting with Pompeo, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenImmigrant advocacy groups seek restraining order to block Trump asylum policy The Hill's Morning Report - Trump faces mounting challenges to emergency declaration 2,000 asylum seekers return home, decide to stay in Mexico: report MORE, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHuawei CEO: Daughter's arrest was 'politically motivated' Top Chinese official heading to Washington for trade talks The Hill's Morning Report - Trump faces mounting challenges to emergency declaration MORE and President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff urges GOP colleagues to share private concerns about Trump publicly US-China trade talks draw criticism for lack of women in pictures Overnight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wall MORE's adviser and son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerFive things to know about Trump confidant Tom Barrack Dems open new front against Trump Dems launch investigation into Trump administration's dealings with Saudi Arabia MORE in Mexico City.

During the meeting, Peña Nieto noted to Pompeo that Mexicans have “great worry” for the more than 2,000 children who have been separated under the Trump administration’s controversial "zero tolerance" border policy.

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“[Peña Nieto] urged Secretary Pompeo, Secretary Nielsen and the rest of the delegation that maximum efforts be put into achieving the prompt reunification of families,” Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso said at a joint press conference.

A separate statement from the Mexican president's office highlighted “the need to find a permanent solution that prioritizes the well-being and rights of minors.”

A federal judge in California ruled that all children under the age of 5 needed to be reunited with their parents by July 10, and on July 12 the Department of Health and Human Services said it had completed family reunifications for all eligible minors under the age of 5.

The government returned 57 eligible children to their families, though it is unclear how the government plans to reunite the remaining children in federal custody.

Peña Nieto and Trump have had tense encounters in the past, such as when the Mexican leader canceled an official visit to the White House following a contentious call with Trump over the border wall.

Last month, Peña Nieto also blasted the family separation practice as “cruel and inhumane” amid wider backlash to the administration's zero-tolerance policy.

On Friday, the tone was less caustic, with Pompeo calling the United States and Mexico our “partners, neighbors and friends” during the press availability.

“The United States is committed to making measurable progress to ensure the security of both sides of that border,” Pompeo said. “Americans must be able to see improvements to better protect our sovereignty and the safety of our local communities.”

The U.S. delegation also met with Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who won the July 1 elections with a wide margin and is set to be inaugurated Dec. 1.

Among the other issues discussed in Mexico were the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Videgaray Caso said the Mexican government wants to see done at an “accelerated pace.”

López Obrador gave Pompeo a policy proposal that addresses NAFTA, development, migration and security, the details of which will be made public once Trump receives it, according to the president-elect’s transition team. 

López Obrador made NAFTA a signature issue on the campaign trail. Following his victory, Trump congratulated López Obrador via Twitter and said he looks “very much forward to working with him.”