Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador remarked on the tens of millions of Mexicans living in the U.S. during a recent summit with President Joe Biden.
The pair of presidents joined Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Mexico City last week for an annual gathering of the North American leaders nicknamed the “Three Amigos Summit.”
Lopez Obrador said that while many immigrants have come from Central America, there had also been “Mexicans migrating who were going to look for a better living standard, toward going to look for a job in the United states.”
“Just imagine,” he continued. “There are 40 million Mexicans in the United States – 40 million who were born here in Mexico, who are the children of people who were born in Mexico.”
He made the comment about 57 minutes and nine seconds into the press conference, which is viewable on YouTube.
The remark came during a lengthy response to a reporter’s question about a new migration center in southern Mexico and how prepared the country is to receive migrants expelled by the U.S. under a new policy.
This year’s North American Leaders’ Summit was held against a backdrop of historic levels of migrants illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Ahead of the summit, the Biden administration announced several new border policies, including an agreement that Mexico will accept up to 30,000 illegal immigrants a month after they are expelled from the U.S.
There were an estimated 36.6 million Hispanic people of Mexican origin living in the U.S. as of 2017, according to the Pew Research Center. The population of foreign-born Mexicans living in the U.S. had grown by 29 percent since 2000, totaling about 11.2 million in 2017.
During the press conference, the Mexican president went on to explain that Mexican social policies have been enticing more residents to stay in the country.
“We’ve reduced the number of Mexican migrants,” he said. “There are less migrants abandoning Mexico now because there’s public investment. Because out of 35 million families, 30 million families … are now receiving at least a program – a wellbeing program. And this is a very direct manner of doing this here in Mexico.”