Obama meets with leaders to plot border strategy

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is praising Mexico's attempts to target smugglers who are trafficking unaccompanied children from Central America through Mexico to the United States.

Obama spoke to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Thursday, the day before he meets with leaders from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The White House says Obama and Pena Nieto discussed how to coordinate their governments' responses to the surge of minors entering the U.S.

Mexico has announced a government strategy to secure its borders with Guatemala and Belize in hopes of preventing immigrants from beginning the often treacherous journey.

Obama and Pena Nieto also discussed regional efforts to address conditions in Central American states that are leading people to seek entry to the U.S.

Obama summoned Central American leaders to the White House to discuss the influx of young immigrants from their countries to the U.S. He's hoping to show presidential action even as Congress remains deeply split over proposals to stem the crisis on the border.

Obama will host presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador for meetings Friday. Central American leaders met a day earlier with lawmakers who are considering Obama's requests for emergency funds and additional authority to send unaccompanied children back home more quickly.

Those lawmakers appear unlikely to resolve their differences before leaving Washington late next week for an annual recess.

More than 57,000 minors have arrived since October, mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.


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