Senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland, met Thursday in Mexico City with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who sharply criticized the decision to authorize the construction of a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said, “This authorisation for the construction of the wall is a step backwards. Because it does not solve the problem. It does not solve the problem. We have to address the causes”.

US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced that the US will resume direct deportation flights to Venezuela and warned that Venezuelan asylum seekers attempting to cross the US-Mexico border will face more severe consequences.

For years, the US government has not routinely deported Venezuelan migrants due to tensions between the US and Venezuelan governments. Thousands of people continue to flee Venezuela due to the country’s economic crisis, which has been greatly exacerbated by US sanctions.