MEXICO CITY, Mexico – After snubbing the U.S. at last month's Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is set to meet President Joe Biden at the White House, Tuesday. The left-leaning president, who recently called on American's of Mexican heritage to vote against Texas Governor Greg Abbott, will be pushing his agenda, and observers hope the U.S. will be pushing back.
Experts told Fox News Digital that issues which should be raised between the two leaders are border security, illegal immigration and ways to stop the tidal wave of fentanyl and other illegal drugs coming into the U.S.
The Mexican president has been quoted as saying that he is not going to prosecute or convict criminals and drug cartel leaders given human rights considerations. A policy known as "hugs not bullets."
"The most important issues on the AMLO – Biden meeting will be drugs, migration, energy and inflation. The last issue is of most immediate concern to both governments, but they may be limited in what they can do in the short term…I expect that the U.S. will commit to doing more on weapons flowing to Mexico and Mexico will commit to being tougher on synthetic drugs," said Duncan Wood a senior advisor to the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
Jorge Castañeda, a former Mexican secretary of foreign affairs and professor of politics at New York University, told Fox News Digital that "During the AMLO – Biden meeting there will be two moments, what is spoken in private and what is said in public. In public there will be praise and cuddles, they will talk about continuing to work together on all issues, about cooperation and even, despite some differences, in general they are working very well. So AMLO will not be able to complain about anything."
However, Castañeda added "Privately, I have the impression that there will be quite a few complaints on various issues, from the lack of support for the United States in the case of Ukraine and the lack of sanctions against Russia, through its refusal to attend the Summit of the Americas and its support to the dictatorships of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, to the lack of more forceful actions to stop illegal immigration, which continues to be a priority for Biden."
On the curious timing of last week's massive fentanyl bust in Mexico Castañeda said," it seems that he only did it to look good before their meeting, but in reality, his policy of not prosecuting the drug traffickers and agreeing with them has repercussions in a greater volume of drugs entering the United States."
The Mexican president was recently asked during a press conference about his expectations for his meeting with Biden and said the "migratory issue is central." He also said he wanted more help for Central America, as well as an increase in temporary work visas that he said would make for a more orderly flow of migration.
"President López-Obrador has a bipolar personality; that's why he usually shows his respect to everybody and tries to be a nice guy," explained Carlos Alazraki, a Mexico based political analyst and CEO of Atypical TeVe.
He said that, "With President Biden, he is not going to get into any confrontation. He will agree with him about how to fight corruption, how to fight narcotics and decrease violence, and he is going to appear as if he did a great job during their meeting. He is going to try to show that Mexico is the best friend of the U.S., but we must be careful and doubtful about all these."
More than once, the Mexican president has sided with countries like Cuba and Venezuela to criticize the U.S., pointing out that people must resist American influence when they try to "dominate" and intervene in the internal affairs of other countries. Observers say his refusal to participate in the Summit of the Americas was a statement to make it clear which side he is on and mark the distance to prevent his neighbor from getting involved in matters he considers only his business.
Observers say they are concerned about the way AMLO has eroded the U.S.–Mexico relationship, undermining trust by saying one thing and doing another.
"It isn't easy to know what AMLO wants to get out of this meeting. AMLO's plan is very limited or unknown. His relationship with the U.S. has been mainly focused on trade (United States, Mexico and Canada free trade agreement – USMCA), climate change, and migration, including AMLO's efforts to promote U.S. investment in Central America," Gabriel España, managing director of Iskali Capital Group told Fox News Digital.
España said he also expects strong U.S. pushback concerning Mexico's security policy.
President Biden needs AMLO to stop illegal immigration and critics consider that a soft approach of the Biden administration to avoid confrontation gives AMLO more power to challenge the U.S.
"The interesting thing is if AMLO is going to take advantage of the meeting and if Biden is going to make him pay for not attending the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. Mexico should request a migration plan," (among other things,) said Mexico based economist Luis de la Calle.
He said the U.S. should ask for: security, drugs control; application of migration rules (in exchange for an ambitions visa program); changes in energy in Mexico to compete with China. The most likely scenario is that they will achieve little because both governments are ineffective and lack a vision of what to do."
Observers recommend that President Biden should pay closer attention not only to what AMLO and his delegation say in Washington D.C. but especially to what they really do in Mexico.