Mexico forces migrants back to Guatemala amid Trump’s tariff threat

Caravan with US and Mexican presidents

Is it possible that President Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Mexico is working? US-bound migrants detained in Mexico are being transported back to Guatemala as Mexican officials continue efforts to prevent President Donald Trump from imposing tariffs.

Government buses were visible crossing the international bridge between Mexico and Guatemala in Ciudad Hidalgo on Thursday carrying migrants. They were being forced to return home to the countries they’d fled from.

The deportation came one day after a caravan with 1,000 people heading north to seek asylum in the US was intercepted by Mexican officials on a highway outside of Tapachula.

The Mexican government is working to contain the flow of illegal immigrants in the wake of negotiations with the Trump administration to avoid the implementation of tariffs threatened by the president.

Mexico offered to send up to 6,000 members of its national guard to secure its southern border with Guatemala on Thursday, but Vice President Mike Pence says a deal is still not quite ready.

Pence led negotiations in Washington on Wednesday, saying talks were positive but emphasizing the administration still wants Mexico to commit to working harder to combat illegal immigration.

“We welcomed the efforts of the Mexican officials to offer solutions to the crisis at our southern border, but we need Mexico to do more,” Pence said on Thursday.

The Washington Post reported that the US has proposed deporting Guatemalan illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers to Mexico as part of a deal.

Current US policy allows anyone who reaches American soil to ask for asylum. This virtually guarantees they are eventually released into the interior of the country while they wait for hearings that can be years away. A majority don’t show up and remain in the US illegally.

Mexico sent a delegation of officials to Washington to try to stop Trump’s threats to impose new import tariffs on Mexican goods. The president has warned that 5 per cent border levies on all its exports to the United States will take effect on Monday, and rise to as much as 25 per cent later this year.

Trump said Wednesday that a “lot of progress” still had to be made to stop his tariff plan, even as members of Congress in his own party are publicly opposing it.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard spent several hours at the US State Department Thursday morning. But it remained unclear that any deal could be struck with Trump out of the country, and US officials were preparing for the tariffs to kick in barring major Mexican action.

“We’ll see what happens,” Trump told reporters in Ireland before leaving for France to attend a D-Day ceremony. “But something pretty dramatic could happen. We’ve told Mexico the tariffs go on. And I mean it, too. And I’m very happy with it.”

Vice President Mike Pence, who led the discussions Wednesday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other US officials, echoed Trump: “We made clear to them that President Trump is going to continue to stand firm until we bring this crisis of illegal immigration on our southern border to an end.”

Democratic House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal said he will introduce a resolution of disapproval to stop the tariffs if Trump goes through with his threat, saying it as presidential “overreach.”

Credit: Daily Mail