Mexico given 45 days to curb migrant flow to US

Darnell Taylor
June 11, 2019

"We have fully signed and documented another very important part of the Immigration and Security deal with Mexico, one that the USA has been asking about getting for many years", Trump wrote Monday, saying it would "be revealed in the not too distant future".

The President had been threatening to impose tariffs on Mexican goods imported into the US for months in a bid to encourage the country's government to step up enforcement on illegal immigration.

In a further sign that the deal is a work in progress, Ebrard said Mexico and the U.S. would hold talks with Guatemala, Panama, Brazil and the United Nations refugee agency on additional measures to control migration, because the solution "has to be regional".

The episode revealed the complicated political dynamics at play as Trump and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador tussle over who made out best in the agreement hashed out under Trump's threat of new tariffs on Mexico.

"We do not anticipate a problem with the vote", Trump said on Twitter, but threatened that if the measure fails there, he will once again return to his threat of imposing new tariffs on Mexican goods.

Trump had threatened to impose 5% import tariffs on all Mexican goods from Monday if Mexico did not agree to his demands to tighten its borders. They include the deployment of 6000 Mexican soldiers to the southern border with Guatemala and allowing Central Americans to wait in Mexico until their asylum claims, most of which are fraudulent, are processed.

In the deal announced by Trump on Friday, Mexico agreed to use its national guard to keep migrants seeking asylum in the USA in Mexico.

Mexico rejected this demand, which would have forced the Mexican government to accept numerous migrants detained trying to enter the United States by making them submit their asylum claims in Mexico rather than with USA authorities.

US border officers apprehended more than 132,000 people crossing from Mexico in May, the highest monthly level since 2006. "For American businesses, they introduce significant uncertainty: it is hard to make investment decisions in the face of continual threats of new tariffs, even if many of them may not ultimately be enacted".

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According to the Bloomberg report, the White House declined to comment or offer proof to back up Trump's tweet.

It could be related to plans for a regionwide asylum agreement if enforcement measures agreed to last week between Washington and Mexico City do not halt a surge of migrants from Central America to the United States.

Mr Ebrard said the agreement reached on Friday after days of "most hard negotiation" bought Mexico time to show it could succeed in driving down the number of migrants.

Trump announced on May 30 that a 5 per cent tariff on all Mexican imports to the US would go into effect on June 10 and eventually increase to as much as 25 per cent by October. The joint communique issued by the two countries provided few details.

Washington and Brussels are preparing to begin negotiations on a trade deal to resolve a battle Mr Trump began previous year by putting tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Under the agreement, Mexico will rapidly expand a programme under which migrants applying for asylum in the U.S. wait out the process in Mexico.

On Monday morning, the broader market was trading on a positive note after President Donald Trump "indefinitely suspended" his planned tariffs on Mexico. The U.S. and the European Union are gearing up for talks on a trade agreement aimed at fixing trade imbalances by increasing U.S. exports.

Mexico rejected that demand, though Ebrard revealed it would go back on the table if Mexico could not stem the flow of migrants heading to the US border.

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