by Jason Hopkins
The Mexican government is reportedly offering a slate of immigration-related concessions to appease the Trump administration as it seeks to prevent the imposition of tariffs on exports to the U.S.
Mexican negotiators are offering to deploy thousands of National Guard troops to its border with Guatemala and enact sweeping changes to its asylum laws, moves that are expected to prevent a significant number of Central Americans from illegally entering the U.S., The Washington Post reported Thursday.
President Donald Trump set a June 10 deadline for the Mexican government to demonstrate it would do more to stem illegal immigration from its country, or else face a 5% tariff on all its goods. The threat sparked immediate negotiations between U.S. and Mexican delegations in Washington, D.C. — which are expected to continue for the rest of the week.
Mexico, according to two officials who spoke with The Post, agreed to send up to 6,000 National Guard troops to its southern border with Guatemala, a major chokepoint for Central American migrants in their northbound journey to the U.S. That move is expected to immediately yield results in squashing the number of illegal immigrants.
Additionally, Mexican negotiators are prepared to revamp their asylum rules in the region. Under the proposal, Central Americans seeking asylum would have to remain in the first country they entered after leaving their homeland. For example, Guatemalans seeking asylum in the U.S. would be deported to Mexico, the first country they crossed in their U.S.-bound journey. The U.S. would be able to deport El Salvadorian and Honduran applicants to Guatemala — the first country they presumably crossed.
However, officials involved in the talks note that negotiations are still underway and that Trump could very well deem the final agreement insufficient.
Negotiations began this week. The tariffs, Trump warned, would increase by increments of 5 percentage points every month, reaching a potential maximum of 25% by October.
“Immigration discussions at the White House with representatives of Mexico have ended for the day. Progress is being made, but not nearly enough!” the president tweeted Wednesday, repeating his long-held beliefs that the Mexican government does little to stop illegal migrants from reaching the U.S. border.
Should Trump accept the terms of the deal, he would likely tout the concessions as a major victory. An agreement would also be a sigh of relief for Republicans in Congress, many of whom publicly expressed their reservations about entering a tariff war with the country’s third largest trading partner.
Details of the negotiations come as the illegal immigration crisis appears to be only getting worse. Over 130,000 illegal migrants were apprehended on the southern border in May, the third consecutive month where encounters topped 100,000 and the largest rate of migrant arrests in over a decade.
Border Patrol apprehended over half a million illegal migrants this fiscal year.
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