Friday, June 14, 2024

AMLO’s jokes about limiting visas for US citizens were all in good fun, the president confirms

While many Mexicans have taken to social media to comment on the increase in the number of U.S. citizens living in certain parts of Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador raised the issue directly with United States President Joe Biden.

However, the conversation between the two leaders wasn’t an overly serious one, AMLO revealed at his Monday morning press conference.

With a wry smile on his face, López Obrador remarked that he told Biden that his government was thinking about being “more rigorous” in the issuance of visas to Americans.

Before breaking into a hearty laugh, he added that he told the U.S. president that he was thinking about “reserving the right of admission” for Americans, “because Mexico is paradise, Eden.”

When a reporter sought to confirm that he had been joking with Biden, AMLO responded:

“Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, because we have a very good relationship, we’re brother nations, we’re neighbors.”

AMLO jokes about limiting visas for Americans
AMLO confirmed that the jibe was a joke, all in good fun. (

While recounting the same conversation with Biden, López Obrador remarked that large numbers of estadounidenses (Americans) are coming to Mexico City “because it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world.”

“We’re all aware that a lot of Americans are coming to Mexico City to live, to the whole country; Yucatán, Jalisco, Baja California Sur,” he added.

“They’re building their houses, … many, many, many [of them],” AMLO said.

Mexico’s 2020 census found that more than 381,000 immigrants from the United States were living in Mexico, while the U.S. Department of State reported in 2022 that 1.6 million U.S. citizens were living here.

The latter figure includes Americans living in Mexico on tourist visas.

Among that cohort are many retirees, such as so-called snowbirds, and digital nomads. A significant number of Americans working remotely have moved into trendy Mexico City neighborhoods such as Condesa and Roma.

Some Mexicans have expressed concerns about the influx of digital nomads to certain parts of the capital during and after the pandemic, asserting that their presence has pushed up rents — a claim backed up by data compiled by the real estate website —  and driven locals out of desirable neighborhoods.

Angel of independence in Mexico City
The Latin America director of Moody’s credited the economic growth to increased political spending heading into the June elections. (Shutterstock)

Mexicans have also complained that Americans and other foreigners are turbocharging gentrification in other parts of the country.

For his part, López Obrador declared last September that Mexico City is “full of Americans.”

“That didn’t happen before. Now you go to a restaurant in La Roma, Colonia Del Valle, Polanco [or] Condesa — those who go to restaurants tell me — and half the tables are taken by Americans, and people even complain that prices have gone up,” he said.

“… There were a lot of them in the Zócalo for the Cry of Independence. And we’re pleased that they participate, that they integrate themselves into the life of Mexico, they’re welcome,” AMLO said.

On Monday, after recounting his jocular conversation with Biden, López Obrador said that “the only thing” he wants is for Mexico and the U.S. to be “good neighbors.”

“… I’ve said it many times, we should integrate more economically,” he said before noting that Mexico is the United States’ top trade partner.

“We need each other, we complement each other,” AMLO added.

Mexico News Daily 

* Interested in reading more about Americans and other foreigners in Mexico and Mexicans’ view on their presence? Check out these previous MND articles.


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