A Mexican official says that a 56 percent drop in illegal immigration into the U.S. from Mexico should result in the U.S. abandoning any threat to slap tariffs on Mexican goods.
“I do not think there will be a threat of tariffs because there is a 56 percent reduction,” Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Friday, according to the Daily Mail.
Ebrard will be in Washington Tuesday for meetings with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as the U.S. and Mexico review the agreement between the two countries in which Mexico promised to do more to reduce the flood of migrants crossing the border into the U.S.
To implement the agreement, Mexico deployed more than 20,000 police and soldiers to prevent Central American migrants from using Mexico as their route to the U.S., Fox News reported.
However, Mexico will only do so much, Ebrard cautioned.
“The Mexican strategy is working. We will not agree to be a safe third country … because it goes against our interests. It is unfair to our country,” he said, referring to President Donald Trump’s proposal that any migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. would have to first seek asylum in Mexico.
Ebrard instead will be pushing for increased American aid to Mexico and the Central American nations from which most migrants come.
Trump’s most recent comments on Mexico were positive.
“I want to thank Mexico, the Mexican government, their great President of Mexico, for helping us. They’re helping us in a very big way. Far bigger than anybody thought even possible,” he said last week.
Figures from the Office of Customs and Border Protection show that the number of illegal immigrants arrested along the Southwest Border is dropping.
After more than 144,000 illegal immigrants were detained in May, that number dropped to about 82,000 in July.
However, the U.S. plans to use the Tuesday meetings to press Mexico to do more.
A report in The Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, said that although the number of illegal immigrants arrested fell further to about 65,000 in August, that number would still be an increase of about 20,000 arrests since August 2018. The Trump administration wants the number to keep dropping, the report said.
“Mexico started off making some gains, and they have executed enforcement operations they’ve never executed before, which the U.S. government has acknowledged and applauded, but those efforts have largely stalled,” The Post quoted a Department of Homeland Security official it did not name as saying.
“We’re concerned that Mexico is resting on its laurels and not postured to drive down the numbers to acceptable levels. We know they can do more, and that’s what the United States expects.”
The Post report said that the fact that 20 groups of 100 or more migrants, some with more than 200 people, have arrived at the U.S. border since the agreement with Mexico took effect on June 7 is worrisome.
“Large groups are the easiest for Mexico to deal with, so the fact that they’re missing large groups of over 200 people symbolizes the challenges they’re facing,” the unnamed DHS official said, according to The Post.
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