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Mexico’s president has said he intends during the meeting to propose to Biden a new Bracero-style immigrant labor program that could bring 600,000 to 800,000 Mexican and Central American immigrants a year to work legally in the United States.

A senior Biden administration official declined to say whether the U.S. president would back or oppose the proposal, saying only that both countries agree on the need to expand legal pathways for migration. The official insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations.

The original Bracero program allowed Mexicans to work temporarily in the United States to fill labor shortages during World War II and for a couple of decades after the war. López Obrador said the U.S. economy needs Mexican workers because of ‘their strength, their youth.’

The Biden official said the meeting will enable Biden begin to institutionalize the relationship with Mexico, rather than let it be determined by tweets — a preferred form of diplomacy by his predecessor, Donald Trump.

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