US, Mexico struck immigration deal, Trump calls off tariffs

The United States and Mexico struck a deal on Friday to avert a tariff war, after Mexico agreed to rapidly expand a controversial asylum programme and to deploy security forces to stem the flow of illegal Central American migrants, news wires reported. The US President Donald Trump had threatened to impose 5% import tariffs on all Mexican goods starting on Monday if Mexico did not commit to do more to tighten its borders.

In a joint declaration after three days of talks in Washington, both countries said Mexico agreed to immediately expand along the entire border a programme that sends migrants seeking asylum in the US to Mexico while they await adjudication of their cases. Trump said Mexico had agreed to take strong measures to “reduce, or eliminate” illegal immigration from Mexico. “The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the US on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended,” Trump said in a tweet on Friday evening.

However, the deal fell short of a key US demand that Mexico accept a “safe third country” designation that would have forced it to permanently take in most Central American asylum seekers, Reuters reported. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said in Washington his team had also resisted US requests to send deported Guatemalans to Mexico. He said he was satisfied with the deal. “I think it’s a fair balance because they had more drastic measures and proposals at the start and we reached some middle point,” he said, emphasizing the importance to Mexico of having kept safe third country out of the deal.

Under the deal, Mexico will increase its efforts to stop illegal migrants from Central America traveling through Mexico to the United States. Those measures will include deploying the militarized National Guard security force to its southern border. Ebrard said the National Guard deployment would start on Monday.

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