The levy will affect all products from June 10 and can escalate to 25% if the White House considers that the neighboring country does not take measures to stop the undocumented.
Donald Trump took a step further on Thursday in his tense relationship with Mexico and the battle against irregular immigration and announced a tariff of 5% on all products imported from the neighboring country as of June 10. This tax, he said, will gradually increase – up to 25% – while not perceiving an improvement in the control of paperless, a matter that the president of the United States already criticized in his day the Government of Enrique Peña Nieto and now Andrés Manuel López Obrador . If materialized, the measure would be a blow to the business between two of the world’s largest trading partners and a blow to the economy of the Latin American country.
The Mexican executive warned that “the natural and the intuitive reaction” would be to respond “an eye for an eye: with a 5% mirror tariff on all imports from the US” But it would be going to the jungle, when we are wanting to go towards something good [a new commercial agreement], “said the number two of Exterior for North America, Jesus Seade. Hours later, Lopez Obrador called, by letter, to avoid confrontation and asking” to resort to dialogue, acting with prudence and responsibility. “The peso, on the other hand, reacted with heavy losses.
Trump had previously threatened another measure harmful to the US economy itself, which he did not dare to apply: closing the border . He also got to use the dreamers – a colloquial way of referring to the young migrants who came to the United States as children and have grown up as Americans – as currency. And he had already warned about using the tariff war to force Mexico to adopt more radical measures against the flow of undocumented immigrants fleeing, above all, from the misery of Central America. But it was not until Thursday when he formally launched the ordage, through a very tough language release. “If illegal immigration is alleviated through measures adopted by Mexico, something we will determine at our discretion and criteria, tariffs will be removed, if the crisis persists, however, they will rise to 10% from July 1,” he said. the president, to continue detailing the escalation: 15% from August 1; 20% from September and 25% from October.
That such a threat takes place the same day it was learned that it is trying to accelerate the approval in Congress of the new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada – concluded last autumn – is a contradiction only conceivable in the Trump Universe, where there is no more strategy than the apparent absence of it: improvisation. “For years, Mexico has not treated us fairly, but now we are defending our rights as a sovereign nation,” he complained in the statement. In spite of the tensions, the commercial interchange between both countries had improved in the last months, until the point of which in January and February Mexico became the main commercial partner of EE UU, surpassing to China. In addition, both countries and Canada they have just reached an agreement to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum .
This Thursday the thick words came back. “Remember, our great country has been a piggy bank in which everyone has wanted to get a hand,” said the president. It is not clear how far he will go with the cravat, but, for now, he has already shaken Washington’s information agenda at a time that was proving unfavorable to him. The statement of the special prosecutor of the Russian plot, Robert S. Mueller, refusing to exonerate him of a possible crime of obstruction of justice, had stirred calls for impeachment in the Democratic ranks.
Collapse in the system of reception of migrants
Trump’s threats to Mexico also come on a day when data are accumulating on the collapse of the immigrant reception system on the southern border due to the massive arrival of families with children. The Border Patrol announced in a note that in the early hours of Wednesday it stopped the largest group ever found on the United States border. There were 1,036 people who crossed the Rio Grande all at once at 4:00 in the morning in El Paso, Texas.
At this point, immigrant families pass constantly, and upon arrival on the other side, they surrender to the agents to ask for asylum. The situation has overwhelmed the ability to respond, as reported by the department. “The arrival of 1,036 individuals in a single group, the largest group ever encountered by agents, demonstrates the seriousness of the humanitarian and security crisis on our Southwest border,” said Commissioner Robert E. Perez in the statement.
All the detainees in the group were from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador. In the group there were 39 adults and 934 members of “family units”, the technical term used to define at least one adult accompanied by at least one child, 63 others were minors, and the difference between some cases is that adults They can only be detained until their case is heard before a judge.If they are Mexican, they are deported immediately, if not, they are detained for the duration of the process.
Children, however, can only be detained for 72 hours and then have to go into custody of social services to be housed in shelters, with host families, or with relatives who take care of them in the United States. This situation greatly complicates paperwork and transfers and makes it impossible to manage efficiently, according to the Department of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which collapses detention centers. The arrival of families with children has increased considerably in the last year, despite the fact that the absolute numbers of arrests at the border are low compared to historical highs.
The same Thursday, The Washington Post said that more than half of the 2,000 children who are detained by the US border police have exceeded the legal limit established for their release. The newspaper cites department sources and its own analysis of official data.
Hundreds of children are detained for more than a week, according to anonymous sources quoted by the newspaper. More than 250 children under 12 have been in detention centers, a prison environment designed for adult men alone, an average of six days. The Department of Housing and Social Services (HHS) told the Post that it is aware of the delay in the delivery of children and said it has room to receive them, but clarified that their responsibility begins only when they are in their custody. Border agents ensure that migrant families arrive faster than they can be processed and therefore can not meet legal deadlines.
The Mexican Foreign Minister travels to the US
The Mexican reaction came only minutes after Trump’s tweet and the White House’s subsequent communique. The undersecretary for North America appeared to ironically explain the start of the parliamentary procedure of the new regional trade agreement, but had to respond to the “very serious” threat from Washington. “I am very sorry for the announcement: there is no justification. [If put into practice] Mexico will be in a bind, “he stressed. “We’re not going to sit by until June 10. We will have to talk hard with them and say: ‘it does not work,’ he added.
To crystallize the threat, Jesus Seade stressed that Mexico must “respond energetically.” “I will not accept that the president [López Obrador] decides not to respond. It is impossible between two countries that are trying to reach a free trade agreement: the fundamental rule is that the countries involved eliminate tariffs on most of the products, “he added. Three hours later came the Mexican president’s reply: by letter, López Obrador called Trump to dialogue and announced that a delegation headed by his foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, will travel to Washington this Friday “to reach an agreement for the benefit of the two nations. “
As in the most tense moments of the bilateral relationship, two years ago, the Mexican peso suffered at the last hour of this Thursday (American time) a sharp fall against the US currency, which at times was around 2%. All in spite of the fact that in recent times investors have opted for a policy of caution and not overreact to Trump’s outbursts and threats on Twitter. But on this occasion, the White House notice is too significant to choose to ignore. “It’s something disastrous. That threat, taken to action, would be extremely serious, “closed Seade in a kind of warning to navigators about what is to come: the opening of a new front just when Mexico thought about a procedure with the least possible shocks. That is already an impossible scenario.