Mexican negotiators persuaded President Trump to back down from his tariff threat by agreeing to an unprecedented crackdown on Central American migrants and accepting more-expansive measures in Mexico if the initial efforts don’t deliver quick results, according to officials from both governments and documents reviewed by The Washington Post.
The enforcement measures Mexico has promised include the deployment of a militarized national guard at the Guatemalan border, thousands of additional migrant arrests per week and the acceptance of busloads of asylum seekers turned away from the U.S. border daily, all geared toward cutting the migrant flow sharply in coming weeks. The measures, described by officials from both sides and included in Mexican negotiating documents reviewed by The Post, appear to be more substantial than what the Mexican government has attempted thus far during the precipitous rise in migration to the U.S. border.
Since heralding the pact in a Friday night tweet, Trump has fumed at criticism that he capitulated to Mexico and that his accord amounts to a series of previously agreed-to measures.
Trump officials Monday described the accord as a breakthrough, and the president considered Mexico’s plan aggressive enough to suspend his tariff threat, even though he liked the idea of imposing the duties over howls from members of his own party.
U.S. officials say they were particularly impressed with Mexico’s pledge to deploy up to 6,000 national guard troops to its border region with Guatemala. Mexico described its plan to U.S. officials as “the first time in recent history that Mexico has decided to take operational control of its southern border as a priority,” according to Mexican government documents.
Such language amounted to the kind of rhetorical shift Trump officials were looking for from the leftist government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who last year dismissed migrant enforcement in Mexico as “dirty work” at the behest of the United States.
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