On Friday, Mexican Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Mexico does not expect the United States to threaten to put tariffs on its goods when it holds talks next September 10th with U.S. officials about its efforts to curb migration from Central America.
Speaking at a regular government news conference alongside President Andrés Manuel López Obrador , Ebrard said Mexico had reduced the flow of undocumented migrants crossing the country toward the U.S. border by 56% between May and August 2019.
At the end of May , U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to put tariffs on all Mexican exports to the United States if Mexico did not significantly curb a recent surge in illegal immigration from Central America into the United States.
In June , the two sides agreed to a 90-day window for Mexico to reduce migrant flows after it agreed to deploy thousands of security forces to its borders and began taking more asylum-seekers from the United States while their cases were being processed.
That period ended this week, and Ebrard is to hold talks with U.S. officials on Tuesday to discuss Mexico’s efforts .
In coming days, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is expected to unveil its numbers for August. Citing preliminary figures, Politico reported that the U.S. Border Patrol arrested roughly 51,000 migrants in the month. Ebrard did not give numbers for apprehensions in August
Mexico’s position would be that its strategy of positioning more than 25,000 National Guard militarized police along its borders and stepping up raids on people traffickers has been a success, Ebrard told the news conference.
“I don’t expect there to be a tariff threat on Tuesday,” Ebrard said, pointing to the reduction in migrant flows.
The minister reiterated that Mexico would not accept becoming a so-called safe third country , which would oblige migrants to seek asylum in Mexico rather than the United States.
The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
Trump has lauded the Mexican government for curbing flows since the June deal. By July, apprehensions at the U.S. southern border had dropped by about a third , according to American data. This week, Trump said that the trend has continued.
However, the United States is unlikely to remove the threat of tariffs totally or change its position that Mexico should become a safe third country. After meeting Ebrard in July, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised Mexico’s efforts but said more needed to be done. Apprehensions in August are expected to remain higher than the same month a year ago.
Ebrard said the Mexican government would keep investing in social programs in the south of Mexico as well as in Guatemala, Honduras , and El Salvador , the three Central American countries from which most migrants depart.
“This reduction of 56% in the flow of migrants is a result of diverse measures that the government has taken, in compliance with the Mexican migration law ,” he said.
Ebrard said there had been only seven official complaints about human rights violations by Mexican forces.
He informed that 2,186 minors traveling in trailers have been rescued; Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR) has opened 778 investigation files , 1,099 persons have been charged for human trafficking , and 357 persons have been bound over to trial .
Ebrard Casaubón said that as a result of a job board for migrants, 1,059 of them are working permanently in the north border, and 4,300 Central American migrants are enrolled in the program “Planting Life” (Sembrando vida) and “Youths Building the Future” (Jóvenes contruyendo el futuro) .