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Trump to slap Mexico with 5% tariff over immigration crisis

May 31, 2019

On Thursday, President Donald Trump said he would place a 5% tariff on all imports from Mexico unless it curbed the flow of illegal immigrants coming to the United States.

This dramatic act would have sweeping political and economic implications for both countries.

The White House plans to begin levying import tariffs on June 10 and drive the tariffs higher if the flow of undocumented immigrants continues. The President said he would remove tariffs only if all illegal border crossings stopped, though some White House officials said they would look at Mexico to take act on the President’s requests.

The White House said the 5% tariffs set to take place on June 10 will be the beginning, with the penalties rising to 10% on July 1, and an additional 5% to be added on the first day of each month for three months, upon which the tariffs would remain at 25% “until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory.”

Trump’s plan would rattle the economies of both countries. The tariffs would be paid by U.S. companies importing the products from Mexico, and consumers would likely be faced with increased prices of goods. Economic experts said the placing of tariffs would hurt the both economies and drive more migrants from Mexico to the U.S.

In response to these threats, Mexico’s deputy foreign minister for North America, Jesús Seade, said Trump’s tariffs would be “disastrous” and that Mexico would respond “strongly.”

In a letter sent by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Thursday, he wrote (translated from Spanish), “President Trump: Social issues are not resolved with taxes or coercive tactics. How will you all of a sudden turn the country of solidarity to the migrants of the world to a ghetto, a closed space, where those seeking – with effort, and hard work – to be free from want are stigmatized, mistreated, persecuted, expelled, and deprived of justice? The Statue of Liberty is not an empty symbol.”

On Wednesday, U.S. authorities apprehended more than 1,000 Central Americans who crossed into El Paso illegally. This was the largest group of migrants U.S. border patrol agents have taken into custody in a single time. Late Thursday, the President tweeted a video of the border crossing, writing, “Democrats need to stand by our incredible Border Patrol and finally fix the loopholes at our Border!”

Compared to last year, Mexican authorities have deported three times as many Central Americans crossing Mexico to reach the U.S. (within the same period), but the majority of Central Americans seem to be able to reach the U.S. without facing arrest.

As a presidential candidate, Obrador promised to decriminalize migration and said Mexico did not need to assist the United States carry out the “dirty work” of deportations.

Along the southern U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. border patrol agents have detained more than 100,000 migrants in for each in March and April this year, with the number of apprehensions expected to be the highest in May.

According to U.S. officials, corrupt Mexican officials are allowing buses of migrants to pass through highway checkpoints and, in some cases, assisting their travel by supplying security escorts.

Mexican officials said they’re regulating the surge in migration and that they provide police escorts to some travelers to deter criminal groups from kidnapping and extorting families traveling with children.

  • MK. II
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