FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the press before boarding his plane at Mexico City International Airport in Mexico City, Mexico, October 19, 2018. Brendan Smialowski/Pool/via REUTERS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday praised the new government of Mexico on immigration issues and said the two sides have discussed the importance of stemming the flow of undocumented migrants before they get to the U.S. border.
“The incoming administration’s been great,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News, citing conversations about how to control traffic from Guatemala and Honduras along Mexico’s southern border. “We have to control that border that is ours and they have to control that border that is theirs.”
Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office on Dec. 1. The next day, Pompeo met with Mexico’s incoming foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, to discuss border issues.
“We’re happy to support them. We’re happy to try and do the things we can do to help them,” Pompeo said in the Fox interview.
U.S. President Donald Trump has called the migrants’ effort to seek asylum in the United States an “invasion” and has deployed the military to the border to reinforce security measures.
He has reiterated his campaign promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, even after Mexico repeatedly rejected his demand that it pay for the billion-dollar project.
Funding for the border wall has been a sticking point in spending bills before the U.S. Congress, and Trump clashed with leading Democrats over the issue during an Oval Office meeting on Tuesday.
Pompeo said he supports the effort to build a wall.
“We have to have the capacity to control entry to our country everywhere,” he said. “And a wall is a vital component of that.”
Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Steve Orlofsky