After meeting with the Mexican envoys to discuss solutions for averting the dreaded 5% – 25% tariffs that the U.S. will impose on goods imported from Mexico, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said the tariffs are likely to kick off as announced on Monday, June 10, 2019. Not unless the delegation headed by Mexico Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard returns to the negotiation table with an acceptance of Trump’s demand for a “safe third country” agreement and of the “Migrant Protection Protocol.”
However, instead of accepting those conditions laid out to them last Wednesday, the Mexico envoys returned with a promise to deploy around 6,000 of the Mexico’s National Guards to the country’s southern border with Guatemala. The purpose of which is to cut off the flow of Central American migrants whose advancements to the US – Mexico south border has led to even sharper increases during the recent past months.
According to V.P. Pence, Mexico’s non-acceptance of the aforementioned conditions, is for the U.S. president to decide. Pence though, hinted that negotiation talks will continue.
Trump views the Thursday negotiations as having made “a lot of progress”, and is expressing determination to impose the initial 5% Mexico tariff on June 10, 2019 (Monday.) Yet, he is also dropping hints that are not short of dangling possibilities of foregoing the tariffs altogether. That is, if Mexico fully accepts the “safe third country” agreement and the “Migrant Protection Protocol.”
When asked by reporters about those specific demands, Mexico Foreign Secretary Ebrard avoided the question, but commented that the meeting on Friday could be one of the last sessions in the negotiation talks. Other Mexican officials said that they will agree to solutions in curbing the flow of asylum seekers, but only if such solutions are dignified, as well as effective.
What Exactly is the “Safe Third Country” Agreement?
Under a “Safe Third Country” covenant, a country agrees to grant asylum to refugees if that country has jurisdiction on the territory on which the refugees first set foot or landed. If this agreement is accepted by Mexico, the country automatically becomes responsible in granting the refugees asylum, as well as in preventing them from pushing forward should they prefer the U.S. as their place of asylum.
As it is, the government of Mexico is hardly in a position to take in hordes of refugees, in light of the country’s own economic conditions. In fact Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had slashed down the country’s immigration and refugee budget for 2019. According to reports, Mexico’s refugee agency is practically receiving less than $1 million for the year.
Canada, the only country with which the U.S. maintains a “Safe Third Country” agreement is currently seeking to end the pact, as Canadian official no longer regard the U.S. as a safe third country. .