Mexico's new president says relationship with Trump is 'good,' expects immigration talks soon

Mexico's new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said Wednesday his administration's relationship with President TrumpDonald John TrumpActivists highlight Trump ties to foreign autocrats in hotel light display Jose Canseco pitches Trump for chief of staff: ‘Worried about you looking more like a Twinkie everyday’ Dershowitz: Mueller's report will contain 'sins' but no 'impeachable offense' MORE is "good" so far, adding that he expects immigration talks with the U.S. to begin soon.

López Obrador on Wednesday also renewed his calls for Mexico and the U.S. to offer more work visas to Central Americans, saying he would discuss the issue with Trump in the coming days.

“We are proposing investment in productive projects and in job creation, and not only that, also work visas for Mexico and for the United States,” he said at a news conference, according to Reuters.

López Obrador's comments come as Trump continues to ramp up pressure on Mexico over a group of around 7,000 Central American migrants currently waiting in Tijuana as they seek asylum claims in the U.S.

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"We are in constant communication, and the communication is good,” López Obrador had told reporters earlier Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. “Relations are good.” 

“It is very likely that in coming days we will talk with President Donald Trump about this issue in particular, the immigration issue,” the leftist president added.

The new Mexican leader, who was officially sworn in on Saturday, has said he would stand up to Trump, pledging he would not allow Mexico to be Trump’s “whipping boy” and calling the White House’s immigration policies “racist.” López Obrador is Mexico's first leftist president in more than 70 years. 

But he has also reiterated that he is open to maintaining a positive working relationship with the Trump administration. 

López Obrador's incoming administration last month agreed to support a new policy from the Trump White House that would require migrants seeking asylum to remain in Mexico as their requests are processed, The Washington Post reported.

The "Remain in Mexico" policy would mark a sharp change to long-standing asylum rules that allowed migrants to file asylum claims after entering the U.S. either legally or illegally. 

López Obrador's call Wednesday for more work visas comes after he previously said in October that he would implement a visa program on his first day in office.

"It's about giving options, giving alternatives, so those who leave their towns in search of work will have work opportunities," he said at the time.

"Whoever wants to work in our country will have support, will have a work visa, [we] won't address the issue only with deportations or shows of force," he added.

– Michael Burke contributed to this story, which was updated at 5:45 p.m.

“Since the Mexican Presidential election in July, the USG has been working jointly with the current Mexican Government and the incoming administration of López Obrador to identify and address shared issues of concern," James McCament, acting under secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement to The Hill in November.

Border tensions came to a head in recent weeks when U.S. agents fired tear gas into Mexico as dozens of migrants sought to breach the fence between Tijuana and California. 
 
Mexico’s foreign ministry shortly after the incident called for “a full investigation” into the use of weapons directed toward Mexican territory. 
 
The city government in Tijuana shuttered a shelter for the migrants over the weekend, moving them to a former concert venue further from the border, according to The Associated Press.