FLASH: President Trump has warned that tariffs of 5% on all Mexican exports to the United States will go into effect Monday if Mexico does not step up efforts to stem an increase in mostly Central American migrants heading for the US border.
Bilateral talks in Washington began Wednesday to attempt to strike a deal, with the Mexican government, US business groups and even many of President Trump’s fellow Republicans keen to avert the tariffs, the prospect of which has rattled global financial markets.
VP President Mike Pence said Mexico had offered “more” Thursday than Wednesday but that it would be up to President Trump who returns from a European trip Friday to decide if it were enough.
“There has been some movement on their part. It’s been encouraging,” he said. “The discussions are going to continue in the days ahead.”
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told reporters the Mexican government had offered to send 6,000 members of the National Guard to secure its southern border with Guatemala.
In a sign of a wider crackdown, the leftist administration of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (MLO) said earlier that it blocked the bank accounts of 26 people for alleged links to human trafficking, while it detained Wednesday at least 350 migrants crossing into Mexico and arrested 2 prominent migrant rights activists.
Ahead of the 2020 US Presidential election, President Trump is eager to show progress on his 2016 Campaign pledges to take a hard line on immigration. Apprehensions at the US-Mexico border hit a decade high in May.
Brad Parscale, President Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Tweeted Thursday: “Mexico sent representatives to Washington as soon as President announced possible tariffs. We are expected to have over 1-M people arrive at our Southern Border this year. Dems are playing games with the border. The President is not!”
US-Mexico migration talks will continue on Friday