Mexico to invoke labor rule to ensure U.S. vaccines for illegal migrants

by Reuters
Wednesday, 13 January 2021 16:07 GMT

A group of Central American migrants walk next to the U.S.-Mexico border fence after they crossed the borderline in El Paso, Texas, U.S May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

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Mexico will invoke labor provisions in the new North American trade pact to help illegal migrants in the U.S. get coronavirus vaccines

(Adds quotes from minister)

MEXICO CITY, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Mexico will invoke labor provisions in the new North American trade pact in a bid to ensure that illegal migrants in the United States receive coronavirus vaccines, the country's top diplomat said on Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told reporters at a regular government news conference that the labor provisions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) include health protections for migrants regardless of their immigration status.

Mexico's government will seek to use the provisions to ensure that migrants receive coronavirus vaccines, he said.

"We will invoke the labor chapter of the USMCA free trade agreement," said Ebrard, emphasizing that the text recognized the "vulnerability" of migrant workers.

It is the responsibility of both Mexico and the United States that all workers have guaranteed access to vaccines, he noted.

"As a consequence, we consider any exclusion of Mexican workers... a violation," Ebrard said.

Mexico responded with concern last week after the governor of the U.S. state of Nebraska said undocumented migrants would likely not get vaccinated due to immigration status.

The governor, Pete Ricketts, later appeared to partially backtrack, saying citizenship would not be checked prior to vaccination.

(Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Adriana Barrera; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Marguerita Choy)

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