August 7, 2020

USA asks Mexico to do more in immigration but removes the threat of tariffs

The United States on Tuesday demanded that Mexico redouble its efforts to reduce the flow of undocumented immigrants who arrive at the common border, but the Mexican government defended that the decrease in migratory transit is already "irreversible" and said that Washington is "far" from resuming Your threat of tariffs.

The Mexican Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, met in the White House with a delegation led by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, and then spoke with President Donald Trump to review the progress of the immigration agreement reached in June, whereby Washington withdrew its threat of tariffs to Mexico.

"Mexico stated that the Mexican strategy has yielded very important results so that migratory flows occur according to the law. There has been a significant decrease," Ebrard said at a press conference after the meeting.

"The trend is irreversible, it is something that we think will be permanent," he said.

The immigration agreement reached in June established a 90-day review period, which ended this month, for both parties to assess the effectiveness of the agreement, and Washington reserved the right to reactivate its tariff threat if it was not satisfied after that period.

However, Ebrard said that the issue of tariffs was not discussed in today's meeting and that, although that possibility "depends on the will of the US Executive," it is now "far".

"The risk of a confrontation between Mexico and the US is getting further and further away," he said.

The American version was less resounding, but also positive: in a tweet, Pence described the meeting as "productive" and thanked Mexico's work, but insisted that both that country and the US Congress. they have even "more work to do to ensure the common border" once and for all.

Pence stressed, in particular, the "need to work with the Government of Mexico to expand" the application of Migrant Protection Protocols (PPM), and both governments "agreed to implement" that measure "to the maximum extent," he said. in a statement the office of the US vice president.

The PPM policy, better known as 'Remain in Mexico', allows Washington to return asylum seekers arriving to its southern border to the neighboring country, to wait there for their US cases to be resolved.

This initiative began to be implemented this year at three points of entry of the border, and in June, Mexico agreed to expand the implementation of the program throughout the entire border area.

Under the program, the United States has already returned more than 42,000 immigrants to Mexico this year, and the mechanism has generated criticism for the difficulty of US lawyers to defend those outside the country and for the dangers that undocumented immigrants may face. They wait in Mexican states like Tamaulipas.

The United States has not clarified how it wants that program to expand further, and Ebrard also did not comment on it.

The conversation between Trump and the Mexican minister lasted, according to Ebrard, about "ten minutes" and came at the end of the meeting with Pence, which was also attended by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; the interim secretary of National Security, Kevin McAleenan; and the son-in-law of the president, Jared Kushner.

"(Trump) was, I would say, quite kind, positive, grateful to Mexico, that's what he told me," Ebrard said.

During the meeting, Trump asked McAleenan about the possibility of making Mexico a "safe third country," something that would allow the US. reject asylum seekers if they do not first ask for refuge in Mexican territory.

McAleenan was in favor, but Ebrard made it clear that "Mexico does not consider" that measure as an option and does not have Mexican "Senate authorization" to implement it, he explained.

Before the meeting, the Mexican Foreign Minister said on Twitter that the priority for Mexico would be to "freeze illicit arms trafficking" from the United States to his country.

After the meeting, Ebrard explained that in June he had already agreed with Washington the creation of a "binational group" dedicated to that issue, which will begin next week's work in Mexico with the presence of the US ambassador to the country, Christopher Landau.

"The objective is to know how many weapons a month we register that come illegally from the US, to do a 'trace' (follow-up) to see who sold them. That work, as far as I know, has never been done," said the minister.

70% of the weapons involved in crimes in Mexico and recovered by the authorities between 2011 and 2016 came from the United States, according to official US data.

Lucia Leal

. (tagsToTranslate) USA (t) Mexico (t) immigration (t) threat (t) tariffs

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