EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The President of Mexico plans to be in Juarez at the end of March to meet with federal employees promoting his social welfare programs.
The exact date of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s visit – his sixth to Juarez since being elected president in 2018 – is still pending but is expected to take place during the last week of March, said Manuel del Castillo, spokesman for federal delegate Juan Carlos Loera Rosas.
A small army of federal social workers has been working in Juarez and other Mexican cities to identify people in need, mostly elderly adults, and deliver welfare payments to them through the Bienestar Bank established by Lopez Obrador, del Castillo said.
The bank works like a credit union and routes pension and welfare checks to account holders through debit cards, according to the Mexican government website. Lopez Obrador intends to have set up 3,000 such banks by the time he leaves office (2024) and deliver $15 billion in welfare benefits, according to his office.
The president usually holds a nationally broadcast news conference whenever he visits a community outside Mexico City. It was unclear on Wednesday if he would be also addressing the ongoing migrant crisis on the border when he visits Juarez.
An estimated 10,000 migrants remain stuck in Juarez since the Biden administration required Venezuelans, Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans to apply for asylum remotely. Those who have tried to surrender to U.S. Border Patrol agents since January 6 have found themselves expelled back to Mexico but are not returning to their countries of origin. Others continue to arrive.
Last Sunday, 1,200 mostly Venezuelan migrants tried to force their way into the U.S. at the Paso del Norte International Bridge but were stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents.