President Donald Trump recently shook up the illegal immigration debate with a threat to raise tariffs on Mexico’s products unless the country takes action to stem the flow of migrants attempting to gain entry to the United States. With the crisis at the southern border intensifying, it is clear that the Trump administration is willing to seek out-of-the-box solutions to address the problem.
While Trump’s announcement regarding tariffs took the Mexican government by surprise, it might be willing to play ball. Mexico’s president signaled that he is optimistic about his upcoming meeting with Trump and is looking forward to coming to an agreement on immigration.
Will Mexico Come to the Table?
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador indicated that he believes his country will be able to hammer out an agreement with the United States that would provide workable solutions to the border crisis. At a recent press conference, Obrador implied that he would be willing to take a stronger role in preventing illegal entries into the U.S. and that he wishes to maintain a positive relationship with President Trump.
“The main thing is to inform about what we’re already doing on the migration issue, and if it’s necessary to reinforce these measures without violating human rights, we could be prepared to reach that deal,” Obrador said. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, set to meet with U.S. officials, stated that he expected “good results” from the negotiations. President Trump has given Mexico a deadline of June 10 to enact measures against illegal immigration or face higher tariffs.
Trump and Obrador Square Off
The spat between Trump and Obrador started when Trump accused Mexico of being an “abuser” of the United States. He then posted a tweet arguing that “Mexico has taken advantage of the United States for decades.”
Obrador responded with a letter containing scathing criticism of the president. “How does one transform, overnight, the country of fellowship with immigrants from around the world into a ghetto, a closed-off space that stigmatizes, mistreats, chases, expels and cancels legal rights to those who are seeking —with effort and hard work— to live free of misery?” he wrote. “The Statue of Liberty isn’t an empty symbol.”
The Mexican president added, “please, remember that I do not lack valor, that I am not a coward nor timorous but rather act according to principles.”
Now, it seems Obrador is changing his tune. But will Trump’s gambit work?
Is There Hope?
Some have expressed concerns about Trump’s threats to levy additional tariffs on Mexican products and speculated that causing harm to Mexico’s economy could exacerbate the crisis at the southern border by creating a new influx of Mexican immigrants. Moreover, there is the possibility that this action could cause harm to relations between the two countries that might be difficult to repair.
But given Obrador’s expressed willingness to discuss solutions, it is possible that the United States and Mexico could work out a viable strategy to prevent more illegal entry into both countries. It’s also worth pointing out that Trump and Obrador have demonstrated that they can work together in the past, as they did when they discussed plans to create business-friendly zones close to the border to encourage Mexican citizens to remain in their country instead of illegally crossing the border to obtain employment.
While the Democrats work feverishly to subvert Trump’s immigration agenda, it appears the president is still intent on solving the problem. His surprise approach to Mexico might seem risky, but if it leads to a solution to the illegal immigration issue, it might pay off in the long run.
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