By Jon Dougherty
POTUS Donald Trump is battling most of Congress, federal courts, the Chamber of Commerce, and various Left-wing open-borders organizations in his attempt to deliver on his promise to dramatically curb illegal immigration.
After being thwarted at nearly every turn for more than two years, the president last week threatened to impose a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican imports beginning June 10 unless the Mexican government made substantial new efforts to interdict the tens of thousands of mostly Central American migrants traipsing through the country enroute to the United States.
Those tariffs would rise to 25 percent by the end of the year and, unsurprisingly, weren’t even supported by many Republicans in the GOP-held Senate.
But on Friday, reports noted that the tariff threat may have worked: Mexican began deploying thousands of troops along its southern border with Guatemala and has reportedly offered major concessions to boot, as Fox News reports:
With just days to go until the Trump administration is set to impose punishing tariffs on Mexico unless the country halts the unprecedented flow of illegal immigrants across the southern border, numerous signs that Mexico would capitulate emerged Thursday — but it remained unclear Friday morning whether their efforts would satisfy the White House.
Reports in the evening indicated that Mexico’s negotiators with Washington have offered to immediately deploy 6,000 National Guard troops to the border with Guatemala. Additionally, Mexico has reportedly agreed to a major overhaul of reasonable asylum protocols, which would require asylum applicants to seek permanent refuge in the first country they arrive in after fleeing their home countries.
For virtually all Central American migrants, that country would not be the United States. The Trump administration has already begun requiring asylum applicants to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed, saying too many applicants were using the system fraudulently to escape into the country. Last month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request to stop that practice temporarily.
That said, it wasn’t clear Friday whether the Trump administration was imminently prepared to accept Mexico’s actions as being good enough to stop the first round of tariffs scheduled for midnight on Monday.
The Washington Post noted further that talks between the Trump administration and affected countries have also been taking place behind the scenes:
The plan, a sweeping overhaul of asylum rules across the region, would require Central American migrants to seek refuge in the first country they enter after leaving their homeland, the two officials said. For Guatemalans, that would be Mexico. For migrants from Honduras and El Salvador, that would be Guatemala, whose government held talks last week with acting Homeland Security secretary Kevin McAleenan.
Any migrants who made it to the U.S. border generally would be deported to the appropriate third country. And any migrants who express a fear of death or torture in their home country would be subjected to a tougher screening standard by U.S. asylum officers more likely to result in rejection.
Mexico has repeatedly said it would not accept what is known as a “Safe Third Country” agreement with the United States requiring it to take in all U.S.-bound asylum seekers. The United States has such a pact with Canada; it requires asylum seekers to apply for refuge in whichever country they first arrive, since both countries are considered safe.
While Mexican officials say the AMLO government is prepared to make changes to asylum rules, those changes would be rescinded if the Trump administration goes ahead and imposes tariffs, the Post noted, because the economic fallout would hamper the country’s ability to pay for the extra border security.
Also Thursday, Mexico’s financial intelligence agency said it moved to freeze bank accounts belonging to 26 people who it said “have presumably participated in migrant smuggling and the organization of illegal migrant caravans.”
The agency also noted it had detected money transfers from central Mexico to a half-dozen Mexican border cities that are believed to be related to the migrant caravans.
In addition, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador insisted Thursday that his government does not “act against anybody to please any foreign government.”
Fox News noted further:
Meanwhile, some 200 Mexican military police, immigration agents and federal police blocked the advance of about 1,000 Central American migrants who were walking north along a southern Mexico highway on Wednesday, once again showing a tougher new stance on attempts to use the country as a stepping-stone to the U.S.
Vice President Mike Pence, who has been monitoring negotiations with Mexico and other countries during his travels in Pennsylvania, said the U.S. was “encouraged” by Mexico’s latest proposals but, so far, the tariffs are still scheduled to take effect Monday.
POTUS Trump, Republicans in the Senate be damned, has decided it is worth a little economic pain for our country to force Mexico to do more to police its own borders and interdict migrants that it leaves for the U.S. to deal with. His gamble appears to have paid off.
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