The threat of tariffs seems to have been an effective one. Liberty Unyielding carried a DCNF report earlier on Friday outlining increased vigilance by Mexican forces this week in stopping migrants moving through southern Mexico. Mexico was also planning to deploy national guard troops to stop more migrants near the southern border with Guatemala. A U.S. negotiating team led by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was hopeful about reaching an enforcement agreement that would forestall the imposition of tariffs on Mexican goods promised by President Trump.
It may feel like longer, but Trump’s tariffs announcement was made only eight days ago. It was on May 30 that he gave Mexico until June 10 to do something about the migrant flood. And on Friday night, after an intensive round of negotiations, the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (“AMLO”) seems to have satisfied Trump’s requirements. Trump tweeted that an agreement had been reached. The tariff threat will be suspended for now.
….stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border. This is being done to greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States. Details of the agreement will be released shortly by the State Department. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 8, 2019
The State Department, on cue, posted the joint declaration with Mexico from Friday, June 7 2019,
The key measures in the declaration include a very important one: extending the “Remain in Mexico” policy on asylum seekers across the entire U.S.-Mexico border. Up to now, the policy has been in place only in certain high-traffic areas. Enforcing it border-wide will help prevent migrants from “shopping around” for lower-traffic areas to exploit.
[T]hose crossing the U.S. Southern Border to seek asylum will be rapidly returned to Mexico where they may await the adjudication of their asylum claims.
In response, Mexico will authorize the entrance of all of those individuals for humanitarian reasons, in compliance with its international obligations, while they await the adjudication of their asylum claims. Mexico will also offer jobs, healthcare and education according to its principles.
This is a major win that ensures Mexico has the same stake as the U.S. in keeping the migrant flow down. It won’t all be ultimately America’s problem: if Mexico lets migrants in, Mexico will have to deal with them for a significant period of time, and will probably end up with more than Mexico was planning to handle.
Mexico has formally committed to an enforcement surge, putting in black and white the plan to take “unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration, to include the deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border.” According to the agreement, “Mexico is also taking decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks.”
The first indications of that effort appeared on Thursday in reports that Mexico had shut down bank accounts for traffickers associated with moving migrants
BREAKING: Mexico freezes accounts of "human traffickers" tied to migrant caravans, government says – AFP
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) June 6, 2019
We can certainly wish Mexico good luck with that. The agreement means the U.S. will also be helping Mexico with that, “strengthen[ing] bilateral cooperation, including information sharing and coordinated actions.” That isn’t just feel-good rhetoric. There’s already an app for that, in the form of the U.S.-Mexico Anti-Transnational Criminal Organization and Border Violence Prevention Initiative, which saw its first test-drive this past week (see the top link for more). Some of the cooperation will involve joint training with Mexican forces on “Field training, tactical tracking, room entry, close border combat, going into rooms, police tactics.”
The U.S. and Mexico will work together to help foster better conditions in Central America as well, to promote development, economic growth, good government, and security.
The Trump team made sure there will be measures of success to minimize the likelihood of backsliding. And the situation will get a re-look with continued discussions, and a 90-day deadline for announcing new measures if the June 7 agreement doesn’t produce satisfactory results.
Eight days from the Trump tariff promise to a migrant agreement is some pretty quick action. The obvious way to read this sequence of events is to conclude that Trump and his promise to impose tariffs had … credibility.