House chairman says he'd try to block tariffs

Saturday, 08 Jun, 2019

The column of men women and children had barely walked 12km on Mexican soil before it was stopped; previous caravans have successfully travelled almost 4,000km across the length of the country to the U.S. border.

"Progress is being made, but not almost enough!" the president tweeted Wednesday, repeating his long-held beliefs that the Mexican government does little to stop illegal migrants from reaching the USA border.

Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, said on Fox News that the Trump administration is moving forward with plans to enact a 5 per cent tariff on Mexican imports on Monday.

Trump, who is now travelling in Europe, tweeted from Ireland that the Washington talks would continue "with the understanding that, if no agreement is reached, Tariffs at the 5 percent level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule". Caravan members have told reporters that large numbers offer safety from bandits and corrupt police officers and that the groups coalesced organically, often after they were promoted on social media.

Without a deal, the first tariffs are to go into effect next Monday.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, said in television interviews this week that he opposes the tariffs as "simply a tax on the American people" and warned that there could be enough Republican critics to block them.

USA and Mexican officials continued discussions on Friday, with the Mexican foreign minister and attorneys for both governments meeting Friday morning.

"Yes, I think we have advances today", he told reporters after more than two hours of negotiations with mid-level USA officials.

Beyond the fact that the president did not specify what, precisely, he wanted Andrés Manuel López Obrador's government to do, his threat appeared to undermine a wide variety of his own political objectives.

What "remedied" means will be decided by the White House.

According to the Washington Post, they have promised 6,000 new troops on the Mexico-Guatemala border to dissuade immigrants from Central America. "Additionally, Mexico has reportedly agreed to a major overhaul of reasonable asylum protocols, which would require asylum applicants to seek permanent refuge in the first country they arrive in after fleeing their home countries", adds the article.

Ebrard's spokesman Robert Velasco Alvarez said Thursday that there was no deal as the two sides were far apart, but that talks continue. "We have not yet reached an agreement but we continue negotiating".

At Mexico's southern border Thursday, there were visible efforts to slow the migrants and hinder their supporters.

Border Patrol apprehended over half a million illegal migrants this fiscal year.

Interior Minister Olga Sanchez said Mexico is also investigating "organizations that recruit migrants on social networks to enter (the country) in caravans".

"We think that a deal will be reached because that's the best for Mexico and the United States to maintain relations that are friendly ... that there be communication and an understanding. That is the policy of the United States", Pence said.

"If we are able to make the deal with Mexico, & there is a good chance that we will, they will begin purchasing Farm & Agricultural products at very high levels, starting immediately", Trump tweeted from aboard Air Force One as he flew home from Europe.

"That is a true statement, because we can not hold them longer than 20 days if they have a child".