Hispanic Caucus asks Trump to rescind invitation to Mexican president

Hispanic Caucus asks Trump to rescind invitation to Mexican president
© Getty Images

Leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) asked President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE Wednesday to cancel an upcoming meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, saying it would be a distraction from the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to Trump, 13 CHC members led by Chairman Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas) expressed "concerns and disapproval with the recent announcement that you have invited Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to a meeting at the White House in early July."

López Obrador is due to visit Washington on July 8-9, his first international trip since being inaugurated as president in December 2018, to celebrate the entry into force of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA).

ADVERTISEMENT

"While this meeting may appear to be trade related and tied to the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), it is nothing more than an attempt to distract from the coronavirus crisis and your failure to lead an adequate response to the pandemic," wrote Castro.

He was joined by Democratic Reps. Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralHouse at war over Jan. 6 inquiry, mask mandate NYC snafu the latest flub from a broken elections agency The Memo: Harris, Ocasio-Cortez and the Democratic divide on immigration MORE (N.Y.), Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarLatina lawmakers discuss efforts to increase representation The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Officers recount the horror of Jan. 6 Migrant children at military bases: What is Biden doing? MORE (Texas), Jesús García (Ill.), Vicente Gonzalez (Texas), Filemon VelaFilemon Bartolome VelaDemocrats confront difficult prospects for midterms The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's next act: Massive infrastructure plan with tax hikes These House lawmakers aren't seeking reelection in 2022 MORE (Texas), Juan VargasJuan C. VargasHouse passes political spending, climate change corporate disclosures bill Hispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs MORE (Calif.), Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaDemocrats introduce equal pay legislation for US national team athletes Manchin meets with Texas lawmakers on voting rights Biden pledges support for Texas amid recovery from winter storm MORE (Texas), Raúl M. Grijalva (Ariz.), Grace NapolitanoGraciela (Grace) Flores NapolitanoA law hindering treatment for severe mental illness must be repealed Trump signs bill authorizing memorial to fallen journalists We can't ignore COVID-19's impact on youth mental health MORE (Calif.), Luis Correa (Calif.), Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators Ocasio-Cortez, Bush criticize lack of diversity among negotiators on latest infrastructure deal Fetterman slams Sinema over infrastructure: 'Democrats need to vote like Democrats' MORE (N.Y.), and Tony Cárdenas (Calif.).

“Your decision to hold a meeting when the Congress is not in session, when members of Congress will be in our districts addressing the needs of communities across the United States that have been devastated by this pandemic, is a blatant attempt to politicize the important U.S.-Mexico relationship along partisan lines,” they also wrote.

“We strongly urge you to reconsider and cancel this meeting,” added the members.

The CHC letter also complained that Canadian Prime Minister Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James TrudeauBiden administration stokes frustration over Canada The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Schumer moves ahead with likely-to-fail infrastructure vote US extends travel restrictions with Canada, Mexico MORE is not expected to attend the ceremony, which was labeled as work visit early Wednesday by Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump and López Obrador, both of whom railed against NAFTA in their election campaigns, have grown closer as their populist styles have converged.

López Obrador, nominally a left-wing politician who's been criticized for his austerity measures, was also panned by opposition domestically for his plans to visit Trump, who has frequently targeted Mexico and Mexicans for political benefit.

But López Obrador has pushed back on those critics, saying Trump has recently "been more respectful" of Mexico as of late.

The CHC members subtly criticized that the meeting between the two presidents is expected to center only on the trade deal, not on immigration policies that have generated a bottleneck of prospective asylees at the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Furthermore, any meeting with the President of Mexico should include an explanation to why the Pentagon is keeping as many as 4,000 troops at the border despite any sign of an actual crisis and a plan for the United States to terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols, which have stranded over 60,000 asylum seekers in Mexico, violated international law, and subjected vulnerable women, men, and children to abuse, sex trafficking, kidnapping, and exploitation," wrote the CHC members.