By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) The Mexican government claimed Saturday that illegal immigrant traffic through the country enroute to the United States has fallen by 56 percent since the country signed an agreement with the Trump administration in June to avoid the imposition of tariffs.
Mexican officials said they believe their efforts should be more than enough to avoid having tariffs kick in on exports to the U.S. as President Donald Trump threatened to do earlier this summer following waves and waves of migrants from Central America crushing the U.S. border.
Citing data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard told reporters during a news conference that the number of illegal immigrants apprehended in August was 63,989, down from 144,266 in May. Also, those numbers include people who presented at U.S. ports of entry but were denied entry because they were not eligible.
The U.S. and Mexico reached a deal in June that expanded implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which is more commonly known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy. If Mexico had not agreed to it, Trump was prepared to impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods coming into the U.S. from south of the border, to rise another 5 percent every month until the tariff became 25 percent.
The deal “frankly reflects diplomacy at its finest,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the time. “It shows the enduring relationship, too, of the relationship of our two countries and it’s a significant win for the American people.”
He also noted that the deal represents a promise kept by the president.
“The deal continues the Trump administration’s commitment, the strongest by any administration in history, to confront the tide of illegal immigration and many other problems along our southern border, including the drug trafficking issue,” the State Department chief continued.
“The president is doing precisely what he said he would do,” Pompeo said, outlining some of what was agreed to:
— The placement of 6,000 Mexican National Guard troops along the country’s southern border with Guatemala — “the biggest effort” of its kind “to date,” Pompeo said, “and something that we pressed for;”
— Aliens caught crossing illegally into the U.S. seeking asylum will be immediately returned to Mexico where they will await the adjudication of their claim — “We now have a way to engage in this full-throttle,” he said;
— Other “cooperative efforts” will also be pursued.
The timeframe for the deal was for 90 days, which expired Sept. 5. Now, Ebrard is scheduled to meet with U.S. officials at the White House to review the progress next week.
“We’re showing that the strategy that Mexico put forward has been successful,” Ebrard said. “I don’t expect a tariff threat Tuesday because it wouldn’t make sense.”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office Dec. 1, has gotten behind the fight to stop human smuggling through his country.
“All of these people who traffic with migrants’ needs for jobs, safety, and welfare, they are committing a crime and they will be punished,” López Obrador said last week. “We are already doing this in Mexico, without violating human rights. We are ensuring there isn’t anarchy, disorder.”
President Trump wants Mexico to become a safe third country but so far Mexican officials have resisted. The proposal would require people seeking asylum in the United States to apply for refuge in Mexico instead.
Still, the president has praised Mexico’s efforts.
“I want to thank Mexico, the Mexican government, their great President of Mexico, for helping us,” he said this weekend.
“And, as you know, we have 26,000 Mexico troops on our border. And they’re also bringing their numbers way down. It’s—we were with the commissioner a little while ago, the secretary, and it’s down over 50 percent from last year,” the president added.
“So they’re really making a lot of progress. But the Mexican government has been great. So we have 26,000 soldiers from Mexico guarding our border.”
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