Sunday, Top Trump Administration officials said that President Trump’s proposed tariffs on Mexican imports would not interfere with the finalization of a North American trade pact and were designed to force Mexico’s hand in immigration talks.
Mick Mulvaney, acting White House Chief of Staff, said that the tariffs were “not interrelated” with the US-Mexico-Canada trade deal, aka USMCA, awaiting approval by the US Congress. He expected a 5% tariff on all Mexican goods to take effect on 10 June because “the President is deadly serious about fixing the situation at the southern border.”
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said the tariffs would not worsen Mexico’s economic situation and drive more migrants over the border but instead incentivize Mexico to curtail the flow of Central American immigrants that cross through on the way to the United States.
“We need Mexico to step up and do more. And these crossings into Mexico are happening at a 150-mile stretch of their Southern border.”
“This is a controllable area. We need them to put their authorities down there and interdict these folks before they make this route all the way to the US”
Mr. McAleenan said that he wants Mexico to bolster its own immigration screenings along the country’s southern border, to crack down on the networks that are transporting the migrants throughout Mexico and to enable more migrants to wait in Mexico while they apply for asylum in the United States.
Mexico’s Economy Minister Graciela Marquez said Sunday she would meet with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in Washington Monday, 2 days before the neighboring countries are due to discuss the prospect of tariffs on Mexican goods.
The meetings follow President Trump’s move last week to overrule the advice of his top 2 trade advisers and abruptly impose tariffs on Mexico.