Trump administration to threaten Mexico with tariffs over immigration: report

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The Trump administration is reportedly preparing to threaten Mexico with tariffs unless the country does more to limit the number of Central American migrants applying for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

According to The Washington Post, the administration will announce the tariffs Friday as part of a “big league” border policy announcement that President Trump teased on Thursday morning.

{mosads}The report by the Post follows an earlier report by Politico that the administration is planning to limit Central American immigration by banning asylum claims from people who had resided in any nation other than their home country.

Both reports were attributed to unnamed administration officials, and followed Trump’s apparently impromptu claim that he is planning to make his “biggest statement” yet on the border.

“It will be a statement having to do with the border and having to do with people illegally coming over the border and it will be my biggest statement so far on the border,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

The plan to impose tariffs comes as Trump starts the process of getting the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), the administration’s renegotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), approved by Congress.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also moved forward with USMCA ratification Thursday, asking the country’s Senate to open a special session to ratify the agreement.

In April, Trump gave a “one-year warning” to Mexico, threatening to impose automotive tariffs and shut down the border if drug trafficking and immigration were not sufficiently addressed.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard is due to visit Washington in June to meet both with congressional leaders on passage of the USMCA and with administration officials to address other issues, including border security and migration.

According to The Washington Post, a top White House official said there is consensus within the administration of the need to push Mexico further on migration.

Vice President Pence, who was attending a trade summit in Ottawa, Canada, was asked by reporters whether the tariffs would imperil passage of USMCA.
“I don’t want to comment on what may or may not occur,” said Pence, adding that Trump’s actions are about addressing the immediate crisis on the border.

Pence said that both Congress and Mexico need to do more to address immigration, and that Trump is determined to use his authority to push them.

Brett Samuels contributed to this report.
Tags Asylum Donald Trump Immigration Tariffs USMCA

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