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Mexican president-elect vows improvements to deter migration to U.S.

Posted: 9:49 PM, Jul 22, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-23 01:49:20Z

MEXICO CITY (AP) — President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Sunday released a seven-page letter he sent to U.S. President Donald Trump detailing how he plans to improve Mexico's economy and security when he takes office in December so that Mexicans do not feel the need to migrate.

"There will be many changes," he promised in the letter. "And in this new atmosphere of progress with well-being, I'm sure we can reach agreements to confront together the migration phenomenon as well as the problem of border insecurity."

Lopez Obrador also suggested the two countries draft a development plan backed by public funds and invite Central American countries to join, with the aim of making it "economically unnecessary" for Central Americans to migrate.

Marcelo Ebrard, who is slated to become Mexico's foreign minister, read the letter aloud to reporters gathered at Lopez Obrador's political party headquarters. Ebrard said Trump had received the letter.

The incoming Mexican president plans to cut government salaries, perks and jobs. Savings from those cuts, he says, will be directed toward social programs and infrastructure. He also plans to reduce taxes for the private sector in the hopes of spurring investment and job creation.

Lopez Obrador said Sunday that some of his future collaborators in government posts have offered to work for free during his six-year term. Several of his proposed Cabinet members are independently wealthy.

"It's an enormous privilege to participate in a process of transformation. There's no price on this," the president-elect said.

He said he will publish salaries of government employees, from high-ranking ministers to police officers. He also said his political party, Morena, will turn down the extra public financing it is supposed to receive next year because it won additional seats in Congress.

Lopez Obrador said Morena could collect up to 1.4 billion pesos ($73.5 million) and more than double what it was allocated for 2018. Mexican electoral authorities assigned the party 650 million pesos for this year.

"That's too much in an atmosphere of austerity," Lopez Obrador said.

He said he doesn't want Morena to turn into an economic power with career politicians who forget that their mission is to serve the people.