Battle erupts over NYT report calling Mexico immigration pact a mirage

Larry Hoffman
June 14, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday insisted there was more to the migrant deal with Mexico announced over the weekend, even after Mexican officials unveiled new details of the agreement, and waved around a document that he said proved his point.

"Mexico is doing a great job at the border, really helping us", he said Tuesday.

"France charges us a lot for the wine and yet we charge them very little for French wine", Trump said on CNBC.

A weekend news report claiming the USA immigration pact with Mexico was a hodge-podge of recycled ideas that America's southern neighbor had already agreed to is coming under fresh criticism, as the Trump administration denies it and a separate report challenges the claims. Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise, a top member of GOP leadership, renewed that call Friday after Trump said he won't impose tariffs on Mexico, lauding the breakthrough that "puts us in a better position to make USMCA a reality".

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who led Mexico's negotiating team in Washington, repeated his denial that there is a secret annex to the deal.

The debate follows President Trump's move to threaten crushing tariffs against Mexico, only to back off late Friday claiming he had extracted an agreement with the country to confront the flow of migrants from Central America.

Nevertheless, Ebrard said other Latin American countries should share the burden, something that the United States appeared to have agreed to.

"And that was a big victory for us", he said.

The problem is that France makes it very hard for the USA to sell its wines into France, and charges big Tariffs, whereas the U.S. makes it easy for French wines, and charges very small Tariffs.

The deal averted import tariffs on all Mexican goods that President Donald Trump had threatened to impose unless Mexico committed to do more to fight irregular immigration into the US. And in here is everything you want to talk about.

"They have started a very strong action".

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, speaking on Saturday in the border city of Tijuana, also credited the agreement, saying it meant "there will not be an economic or financial crisis in Mexico".

Meanwhile, the agreement with Mexico is not a done deal.

Central american migrants cross the Suchiate river from Tecun Uman, in Guatemala, to Ciudad Hidalgo, as seen from Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, June 11, 2019.

Ebrard noted that USA authorities wanted to cut the number of migrants to "zero" and said Washington would likely repeat its "safe third country" demand if Mexico was not able to bring down the number of people crossing illegally into the country. Since many travel with children - who can not be held in detention long-term - they are released into the United States to await the resolution of their asylum cases, something the president calls "catch and release".

Nonetheless, the tariff confrontation may have created lasting damage to ties between the two countries.

But The New York Times, which cited unidentified officials from both countries, claimed the program's expansion was already agreed upon in December and that Mexico had already agreed in March to deploy its National Guard.

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