It's in Washington and Mexico City's "mutual interest" to "provide immediate relief to the Northern Triangle and to address the root causes of migration" from the region into the United States, Vice President Kamala Harris has said.
Speaking to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday, Harris – tasked with heading up Washington's effort to dramatically reduce migration from Mexico and Central American nations – urged Mexico to team up with the US to fight violence and corruption.
"You and I have discussed before an understanding and a belief [that] most people don't want to leave home and when they do, it is often because they are fleeing some harm or they are forced to leave because there is no opportunity in their home," Harris said, addressing the Mexican president.
Harris noted that the US approach would include working with allies, countries in the region and worldwide, as well as the private sector and community organisations to solve the crisis. She did not specify what form any "immediate relief" to the region would take.
Lopez Obrador told Harris that the US could count on Mexico's help in matters of immigration, and that he had a "specific proposal" in mind that he would like to discuss with her.
Ahead of the meeting, the Mexican president demanded that Washington stay out of Mexico's internal affairs after showing tax records of payments from the US government to a local anticorruption watchdog, which he said was working against his administration.
"It is an interventionist act that violated our sovereignty," Lopez Obrador said, adding that his country had filed a formal diplomatic note of protest with the US Embassy.
"That's why we're asking the [US government] to clarify this for us. A foreign government can't provide money to political groups," he emphasised.
The watchdog, known as Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity, has made numerous claims criticising the social democrat president, and publicly lists USAID as one of its financial supporters.
Last month, President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala, one of the countries leading the way in sending migrants to the US, said that the Biden administration's "confusing" messages about a willingness to "take the children" contributed to the crisis.
Conservatives have widely derided the Biden administration for scrapping nearly a dozen hardline Trump-era directives related to immigration during the Democrat's first weeks in office. The White House, meanwhile, has blamed Trump and the "cyclical" nature of migration for the crisis.
Much of Central and South America have suffered from decades of instability, poverty, violence, and corruption, partially attributable to poor local leadership and oligarchic rule, and partially to the history of US meddling in the region. Since 1950, the United States has intervened in Latin America militarily or via the CIA over 50 times, staging a coup in Guatemala in 1954, funding death squads in El Salvador and Nicaragua throughout the 1980s, invading Panama in 1989, and supporting a military coup in Honduras in 2009 which toppled the country's democratically elected president.