Trump threatens Mexico with tariffs over immigration
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods from Mexico until its leaders took steps to curb illegal immigration to the United States.
“On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied … at which time the Tariffs will be removed. Details from the White House to follow.”
A short time later, the White House followed up with details: The tariff will increase to 10 percent on July 1; 15 percent on August 1; 20 percent on September 1; and 25 percent on October 1.
“Americans are paying for this right now,” Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, told reporters. “Illegal immigration comes at a cost. American taxpayers are paying for whats going on at the border. This is already impacting the economy negatively.”
Trump has long been frustrated with his administrations inability to halt the tide of immigrants at the southern border, but never more so than as he runs for reelection on a record that includes little of what he promised on immigration in his 2016 campaign.
Trump has long accused the Mexican government of failing to do enough to stem the tide of Central American migrants who have been crossing the border. His administration has struggled with how to deal with the increase in immigrants, which has reached its highest level in years. U.S. Border Patrol arrested nearly 99,000 migrants at the border in April, many from Central America, and U.S. immigration officials now have a record number of people in custody.
Mulvaney told reporters Thursday night that Trump was using the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the president the authority to regulate commerce during a national emergency. He said tariffs would remain at the 25 percent level unless and until Mexico substantially halted the stem of immigrants crossing the border. But when he was asked for a specific number of reductions, Mulvaney declined to say, calling the situation “fluid.”
“If the illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico, to be determined in our sole discretion and judgment, the Tariffs will be removed,” the White House said in a written statement.
The acting Homeland Security secretary, Kevin McAleenan, said Mexico needed to increase operational security on the border, get tougher on criminal operations and help the U.S. on asylum cases. But he, too, declined to provide specific numbers.
Trump made the announcement on the same day that the administration took a procedural step that would allow it submit the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to Congress for a vote this summer. That agreement, which is an update of the 25-year-old NAFTA, locks in tariff-free trade between the three countries.
It also came while Vice President Mike Pence was flying back from Ottawa, where he discussed the trade agreement with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada.
“Our administration is working earnestly with leaders in the Congress of the United States to approve the USMCA this summer,” Pence said in Ottawa before departing. When he was asked about the possibility of a new tariff, the vice president said that Mexico and Congress needed to do more on immigration.
Mulvaney said the trade deal was completely separate from the tariffs that Trump threatened to impose Thursday, calling this an issue about immigration, not trade.
The United States imported $346 billion worth of goods from Mexico in 2018. That includes tens of billions of dollars of cars, trucks and auto parts. Trumps threat to impose new tariffs on Mexico comes just a few weeks after he removed a 25 percent tariff on steel and aluminum exports from Canada and Mexico in order to pave the way in Congress for approval of the USMCA.
Mulvaney said White House officials spoke to Republican leaders in both chambers of Congress, who he said were largely supportive, though few reacted Thursday night after Trump made the announcement. Only hours before his tweet, senior administration officials said that Read More – Source