'Opinion leaders in Mexico are already starting to say, ‘enough is enough,’" says Randy Capps of the Migration Policy Institute.
NEW YORK – Mexico’s president responded cautiously on Friday to a threat by President Trump to impose tariffs on the country unless it halts illegal border crossings, saying he wants to maintain a “good relationship with the United States” but would engage in “nothing authoritarian” to deal with the migration issue.
Trump warned via tweet on Thursday that Mexican exports would be subject to 5% tariffs “until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP.” He further threatened tariffs of up to 25 percent by October if the issue went unaddressed.
“The U.S. spends somewhere between 30, 40, 50 billion a year stopping illegal migration on its southern border, and it can’t do it.”
Eric Olson directs the Central America-D.C. Platform for the Seattle International Foundation.
“So simply forcing this on Mexico and Central America when the U.S. can’t stop irregular migration is probably not going to be successful.”
Randy Capps is the director of research for U.S. programs at the Migration Policy Institute and says Trump is ignoring Mexico’s recent efforts to try and comply with U.S. demands, which include detaining more migrants in southern Mexico and deploying police to try and block the movement of migrant “caravans.”
“The three points that have been mentioned by the Trump Administration are enforcing the southern Mexican border with Guatemala better, increasing the capacity of their asylum system so that people will stay there and seek asylum instead of coming here and combating these horrible smuggling and trafficking organizations. The reality is, we’ve been cooperating with them on all three of these things and they’ve been making improvements.”
And While Mexico’s response to the tariff threat has been measured thus far, Capps says that could change.
“Opinion leaders in Mexico are already starting to say, ‘enough is enough,’ so at some point he may get a lot of blowback from Mexican opinion on taking a soft line with the U.S. when the U.S. is taking such a hard line with Mexico.”