Today: Jul 10 , 2020

Latest Status on Border & Tariffs

08 June 2019  

At the US-Mexico border, thousands of migrants have been crossing without legal approval for years. Reports are that the problem appears to have worsened, and solutions are elusive.

President Donald Trump calls it a crisis; it is one that encompasses humanitarian, political and economic concerns.

This group of 134 Central Americans illegally entered the country west of Sasabe, Arizona just last week:

Another Group of 111 mostly family units and unaccompanied children from Central America surrendered to Yuma Sector Border Patrol Agents near San Luis, Arizona on 5/7/19 at approximately 8 AM.

Obviously fed up with a lack of willingness on both sides of the aisle to tackle illegal immigration issues, on May 30, 2019, President Trump announced new emergency measures that included escalating tariffs against Mexico to address the border crisis. The first set of tariffs at 5% were to go into place in less than two weeks, on Monday, June 10. After that, the tariffs would increase by 5% at the beginning of each month, topping out at 25%.

His stated purpose? Trump wanted Mexico to help solve the problem. He wrote, 

"Mexico must step up and help solve this problem.  We welcome people who come to the United States legally, but we cannot allow our laws to be broken and our borders to be violated.  For years, Mexico has not treated us fairly—but we are now asserting our rights as a sovereign Nation."

Read the entire Statement from the President Regarding Emergency Measures to Address the Border Crisis

It would be an understatement to say that this emergency policy did not receive universal approval, even from Republicans, much less bipartisan support. Glenn Hamer, CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce immediately opposed tariffs, even while admitting that the border crisis needed to be solved. 

Negotiations between various governmental and private business stakeholders took an urgent tone, as avoiding the tariffs became an imperative common goal. They had less than two weeks to accomplish what had not been achieved for years. 

On a related note, according to Breitbart, Mexico claimed that some of the migrant caravan funding came from the US and England  as well as Africa and Central America. In response to this information, Mexican tax officials froze the assets of 26 individuals and entities they allege are tied to human smuggling organizations or to promoting Central American migrant caravans, and plan to prosecute them through the Mexican Attorney General’s Office. 

On Friday, President Trump used his favorite communications channel - Twitter - to make the following announcement

I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico. The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended. Mexico, in turn, has agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border. This is being done to greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States. Details of the agreement will be released shortly by the State Department. Thank you!

The State Department released the following brief initial statement: 

Conclusion of Negotiations with Mexico

We would like to thank Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard for his hard work to negotiate a set of joint obligations that benefit both the United States and Mexico. The United States looks forward to working alongside Mexico to fulfill these commitments so that we can stem the tide of illegal migration across our southern border and to make our border strong and secure.

Here is the US-Mexico joint statement regarding their agreement.

US-Mexico Joint Declaration

The United States and Mexico met this week to address the shared challenges of irregular migration, to include the entry of migrants into the United States in violation of U.S. law. Given the dramatic increase in migrants moving from Central America through Mexico to the United States, both countries recognize the vital importance of rapidly resolving the humanitarian emergency and security situation. The Governments of the United States and Mexico will work together to immediately implement a durable solution.

As a result of these discussions, the United States and Mexico commit to:

Mexican Enforcement Surge

Mexico will take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration, to include the deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border. Mexico is also taking decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks. Additionally, the United States and Mexico commit to strengthen bilateral cooperation, including information sharing and coordinated actions to better protect and secure our common border.

Migrant Protection Protocols

The United States will immediately expand the implementation of the existing Migrant Protection Protocols across its entire Southern Border. This means that those crossing the U.S. Southern Border to seek asylum will be rapidly returned to Mexico where they may await the adjudication of their asylum claims.

In response, Mexico will authorize the entrance of all of those individuals for humanitarian reasons, in compliance with its international obligations, while they await the adjudication of their asylum claims. Mexico will also offer jobs, healthcare and education according to its principles.

The United States commits to work to accelerate the adjudication of asylum claims and to conclude removal proceedings as expeditiously as possible.

Further Actions

Both parties also agree that, in the event the measures adopted do not have the expected results, they will take further actions. Therefore, the United States and Mexico will continue their discussions on the terms of additional understandings to address irregular migrant flows and asylum issues, to be completed and announced within 90 days, if necessary.

Ongoing Regional Strategy

The United States and Mexico reiterate their previous statement of December 18, 2018, that both countries recognize the strong links between promoting development and economic growth in southern Mexico and the success of promoting prosperity, good governance and security in Central America. The United States and Mexico welcome the Comprehensive Development Plan launched by the Government of Mexico in concert with the Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to promote these goals. The United States and Mexico will lead in working with regional and international partners to build a more prosperous and secure Central America to address the underlying causes of migration, so that citizens of the region can build better lives for themselves and their families at home.

Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She will be leaving for new adventures on May 15, 2020.