Border militarization a concern as the US, Mexico and Canada hold summit on November 18

Published by Brent Patterson on

On November 18, US President Joe Biden will host Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a North American Leaders’ Summit (NALS) in Washington, DC.

The media have previously dubbed these meetings Three Amigos summits.

The White House statement on the summit notes that climate change and “a regional vision for migration” will be on the agenda.

This past June, PBI signed this statement that expresses concern about the “militarization of borders, particularly in the United States, Mexico and Guatemala.”

That statement also highlighted: “There are hostilities, harassment, surveillance, defamation and aggressions against human right defenders, shelters and spaces supporting migrants, even during the pandemic.”

Last month, this report by the Transnational Institute found that Canada spent an average of $1.9 billion a year (over the years 2013-18) on the militarization of its borders while only contributing $149 million a year over the same period on climate financing to mitigate the impacts of climate change that drive forced migration.

Similarly, it found that the US spent $19.6 billion a year on the militarization of its borders and just $1.1 billion on climate financing.

The report does not include Mexico, but this past April Reuters noted: “Mexico has doubled its detentions of migrants with a deployment of 10,000 troops to its southern border, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said as Washington leans on regional governments to help slow arrivals at the U.S. border.”

At that time, the Associated Press also reported: “Mexico will maintain a deployment of about 10,000 troops, while Guatemala has surged 1,500 police and military personnel to its southern border and Honduras deployed 7,000 police and military to its border ‘to disperse a large contingent of migrants’ there.”

Meanwhile all three governments meeting next week have backed climate-disruptive megaprojects.

That includes the Line 3 tar sands pipeline in the US (that saw the arrest of 900 water protectors over this past year in Minnesota), the Morelos Integral Project (PIM) pipeline, aqueduct and thermoelectric plant in Mexico, and the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory in Canada.

PBI-Canada shares the concern that states appear to be prioritizing militarization over decarbonization and human rights.

Mexico will host the next North American Leaders’ Summit in 2023.

The last summit was held in June 2016 in Ottawa with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Barack Obama.

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