Mexico Begins Sending Migrants Back to Guatemala Following Trump Tariffs
Authorities crackdown on illegal immigrants traveling to US Southern Border
Mexico has started sending migrants back to Guatemala as President Donald Trump's threats of tough tariffs against the country become a reality.
Migrants heading for the US Southern Border through Mexico are being transported back to Guatemala as Mexican officials panic amid the imposing tariffs.
On Thursday, illegal immigrants were seen being transported across the international bridge between Mexico and Guatemala in Ciudad Hidalgo on Government buses.
The deportation follows news that a caravan with 1,000 people heading north to the United States was intercepted by Mexican federal police on a highway outside of Tapachula on Wednesday.
Mexico's government is fighting to contain the flow of illegal migrants amid negotiations with the Trump administration to avoid the potentially catastrophic tariffs from being implemented by the president.
According to the Daily Mail, Mexico offered to send up to 6,000 members of its national guard to secure its southern border with Guatemala on Thursday - but Vice President Mike Pence says a deal is still not ready.
Pence led an initial round of negotiations in Washington on Wednesday, saying talks were positive but emphasizing the administration still wants Mexico to commit to working harder to combat illegal immigration.
"We welcomed the efforts of the Mexican officials to offer solutions to the crisis at our southern border, but we need Mexico to do more," Pence said on Thursday.
The Washington Post reported that the United States has proposed deporting Guatemalan illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers to Mexico as part of a deal, but that part of a broader agreement is facing snags.
Trump wants to deport Central American asylum seekers to a third country and to force them to apply for US asylum at the American embassy of the first 'safe' country they enter after leaving their own.
Current US policy allows anyone who reaches American soil to ask for asylum, virtually guaranteeing they are eventually released into the interior of the country pending hearings that can be years away.
A majority don't show up and remain in the US illegally.
Mexico sent a delegation of officials to Washington to try to avert Trump's threats to impose new import tariffs on Mexican goods if the country doesn't do more to keep hundreds of thousands of migrants from pouring through its territory.
#BorderPatrol agents have apprehended over 500 African #migrants illegally entering the US from Mexico in the last week, at just one section of the border.— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) June 6, 2019
READ MORE: https://t.co/CmGEgsLkb2#BuildTheWall
Mexico has shown some signs of coming to heel in the wake of Trump's latest tariff threat.
The president has warned that 5 percent border levies on all its exports to the United States will take effect on Monday, and rise to as much as 25 percent later this year.
The Mexican Finance Ministry said Thursday that it blocked the bank accounts of 26 people for their alleged involvement in human trafficking.
The ministry's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) said in a statement that it froze the accounts due to "probable links with human trafficking and illegal aid to migrant caravans."
Trump said Wednesday that a "lot of progress" still had to be made to halt his tariff plan, even as members of Congress in his own party are publicly opposing it.
Underscoring the scope of the border problem, the Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday that US Border Patrol apprehensions of migrants illegally crossing the border hit the highest level in more than a decade in May.
They made 132,887 apprehensions, including a record 84,542 adults and children traveling together and 11,507 children traveling alone.
Trump, traveling in Europe, tweeted from Ireland that the Washington talks would continue "with the understanding that, if no agreement is reached, Tariffs at the 5% level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule."
"We'll see what happens," Trump told reporters in Ireland before leaving for France to attend a D-Day ceremony.
"But something pretty dramatic could happen. We've told Mexico the tariffs go on. And I mean it, too. And I'm very happy with it."
Vice President Mike Pence, who led the discussions Wednesday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other US officials, echoed Trump: "We made clear to them that President Trump is going to continue to stand firm until we bring this crisis of illegal immigration on our southern border to an end."
Illegal immigration was the signature issue of Trump's presidential campaign and one that he sees as crucial to his 2020 re-election.
Democratic House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal said he will introduce a resolution of disapproval to stop the tariffs if Trump goes through with his threat, panning it as presidential "overreach."
Trump has blasted those who have criticized the tariff threat.
A "lot of people, senators included – they have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to tariffs," Trump said.
"They have no – absolutely no idea."