Trump takes strong legal action to halt Central American migrants

Washington and Mexico appear to be making progress in deciding the new terms of their policy of handling asylum seekers and migrants. US President Trump has provided the government of Mexico 45 days to take stronger legal action and halt Central American migrants headed for the US.

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AFP |

US President Donald Trump revealed Tuesday that Mexico agreed to take stronger legal action to halt Central American migrants if its initial efforts to stem the flow don’t show results in 45 days.

In bright sunshine outside the White House, Trump waved what he said was the text of an agreement Mexican and US officials signed Friday to avert the application of tariffs on their exports to the United States.

Photographs of the document revealed that Mexico appeared to pledge to enact or enforce certain domestic laws if Washington is not satisfied with the results of its first promised efforts deploying 6,000 National Guardsmen to reinforce its southern border and expanding its policy of taking back asylum-seekers as the United States processes their claims.

Dan Celia, a senior host at Financial Issues, noted that the new strategy of curbing emigration will aid in bringing about “dramatic relief” on the US and its border patrol services.

If, after 45 days, the US government “determines at its discretion” that the results aren’t enough, the document says, “the Government of Mexico will take all necessary steps under domestic law to bring the agreement into force.”The document gives the Mexican government another 45 days to achieve that.

Washington Pressures Mexico

It was not clear what specific measures the Mexican government would have to take. Washington said last week it wanted Mexico to agree to a “safe third country” policy, in which migrants entering Mexican territory must apply for asylum there rather than in the US.

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Trump waved the ostensible agreement in front of reporters amid questions about whether his administration really did reach a substantial agreement last week to stem the flow of hundreds of thousands of migrants who pass through Mexico to enter the United States.

The initial deal appeared to repeat previous undertakings the Mexicans have made. But Trump has repeatedly suggested there is another secret part of the deal that would require more of Mexico. “Mexico is doing a great job at the border, really helping us,” he said Tuesday.

“They have been working very hard. We’re doing very well together. Good relationship.” Speaking to the press yesterday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that as per the agreement between the US and Mexico, all asylum seekers crossing the US Southern borders will be “rapidly returned” to Mexico.

Migrants who are now forced to be stuck in Mexico face an uncertain future as pregnant women, children and the elderly wait to hear the final verdicts on their cases.

Dan Celia, a senior host at Financial Issues, noted that the new strategy of curbing emigration will aid in bringing about “dramatic relief” on the US and its border patrol services.

Mexico is not going to Fail

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who led Mexico’s negotiating team in Washington, repeated his denial that there is a secret annex to the deal. “You’re not going to see it anywhere. Absolutely everything is right here. Everything. There’s nothing that’s not in this report,” he told a news conference in Mexico City, holding up the nine-page briefing he plans to deliver to the Mexican Senate.

That document says the countries discussed a “possible deal” to process asylum-seekers in whichever country they arrive in first. If Washington deems the results of the initial measures insufficient after 45 days, Mexico City has another 45 days to implement the agreement.

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Ebrard evaded reporters’ questions on what exactly that additional deal would look like. “Mexico is not going to fail. Mexico is open to negotiations if we fail, but we’re not going to fail,” he said. Pressed on what Mexico will do if Trump deems otherwise, he said, “I’m not going to reveal Mexico’s strategy… That wouldn’t be prudent.”

Mexico’s leftist government has insisted tighter borders cannot be the only solution, insisting on the need to protect migrants’ rights and fund major infrastructure and development projects in Central America.

But Mexico faces huge pressure to deliver immediate results at the US-Mexican border, where American officials detained 144,000 migrants in May, up 32 percent from April including a record 89,000 in families. Ebrard said Mexico would begin deploying its National Guard to the southern border on Wednesday.

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Manuel Bojorquez, CBS correspondent, reported from his Twitter handle, “We are in southern Mexico, where officials seemed eager to show how they are cracking down on Central American migrants. Mexico has already deported thousands, but along with plans for a new national guard presence, wants to maintain deal to avoid US tariffs.”

Migrants who are now forced to be stuck in Mexico face an uncertain future as pregnant women, children and the elderly wait to hear the final verdicts on their cases.

AFP with additional input by GVS news desk.

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