Former ambassador says it would take Mexico 'several years' to stem influx of migrants at US border

A former U.S. ambassador told Hill.TV on Monday that Mexico would need several years to stem the influx of Central American migrants at the U.S. border.

“It would take several years,” Earl Anthony Wayne, a former career diplomat who served as ambassador to Mexico from 2011 to 2015, told Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton and Jamal Simmons on “Rising.”

Wayne warned that Mexico might not have the resources to address the growing issue.

“It would take investment and resources that right now they don’t have in their budget because they are implementing an austerity budget in Mexico under the new president, who is trying to introduce social reform, so he’s cut back on a lot of other programs,” Wayne said.

His comments come as officials from U.S. and Mexico are expected to meet Wednesday to discuss ways to avert a major clash over immigration and trade.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE vowed last week that he would impose 5-percent tariffs on imports from Mexico starting June 10 if the country doesn’t halt the flow of illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border. He said the tariff would increase by 5 percent each month, reaching as much as 25 percent, until Mexico stops the flow of migrants.

The proposal prompted bipartisan criticism, but Trump doubled down on his threat over the weekend, calling Mexico an “abuser” of the U.S.

“People have been saying for years that we should talk to Mexico,” Trump tweeted on Sunday. “The problem is that Mexico is an 'abuser' of the United States, taking but never giving.”

Wayne said that some migrants now see coming to the U.S. as their “last chance” to flee from violence, poverty or persecution.

“Ironically some of the pull factors are people being told, ‘Hey, the U.S. is going to close the border, you better go now," Wayne said. "So a lot of people see this as their last chance, maybe, to get to the United States to escape their current situation.”

—Tess Bonn