A senior delegation from Mexico will begin “high level talks” with the Trump administration on immigration and tariff issues on Monday. Last week President Trump announced he wanted to put tariffs on Mexican imports if Mexico would not do more the stop the flow of migrants from South America.
Global equities tumbled after Trump’s unexpected threat last week against the United States biggest trade partner, as investors feared his aggressive trade diplomacy could tip the United States and other major economies into recession.
With just a week until the first tariffs bite, the delegation led by Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard may have a hard time convincing U.S. officials that Mexico is doing enough on immigration to avoid punishment, despite having signaled in recent days it was prepared to further tighten security.
Mexican Economy Secretary Graciela Marquez and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will meet on Monday and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard will meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday.
Trump on Sunday called Mexico an “abuser” of the United States and said he wanted action, not talk. Mexico has signaled it would retaliate to the tariffs, with targets likely to include farm products on Trump supporting states.
On Sunday Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said that Mexico should deploy more resources along their 150 mile border with Guatemala to stop incoming caravans. Reuters wants you to know that the Mexico-Guatemala border is mostly river and jungle, making it hard to police. “The causes of Central American immigration are mainly related to lack of economic opportunity and rampant violence.”
The number of migrants presenting at the U.S.-Mexico border is expected to exceed the 99,000 in April.
A more radical idea that has long been promoted by the DHS and may again be on the table in talks this week despite previously being a red line for Lopez Obrador, is to make Central Americans apply for Mexican asylum, not U.S. asylum.
Under this policy, Mexico could be declared a “safe third country.” Rights groups argue that leaving asylum seekers in Mexico puts them at risk, since it suffers from similar levels of violence to the places they are fleeing.
Mexico’s economy relies heavily on exports to the U.S. and their economy would take a big hit if Trump were to increase tariffs by 25%.
(Photo credit ARIANA DREHSLER/AFP/Getty Images)