Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised President Trump and his efforts in securing a trade and immigration deal with Mexico.
The president announced last week that he would implement a series of tariffs against Mexico if they did not do more to stop the flow of illegal immigrants from their country into the United States.
The tariff was set to increase 5 percent each month until it capped and remained at 25 percent.
Ahead of its implementation, however, Mexico agreed to send some of its military forces to its southern border between Belize and Guatemala to stop illegal flows of migrant travel. These southern borders are collectively much smaller and more manageable than its northern border with the U.S. The Belize–Mexico border is just over 156 miles long and the Guatemala–Mexico border is just over 540 miles in length compared to the 1952-mile U.S.-Mexico border.
“I’ve seen some reporting that says that these countless hours were nothing, that they amounted to a waste of time,” Pompeo said to a group of reporters at the State Department, the Washington Examiner reports. “I can tell you that the team here at the State Department believes full-throatedly that this an important set of agreements.”
“The scale, the effort, the commitment here is very different from what we were able to achieve back in December,” he continued. “It’s what prompted this series of conversations that took on a level of seriousness and a timed commitment that we were committed to getting done before the weekend.”
And, via the Washington Examiner:
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard described the deal as a “fair balance” between the two countries, in part because his team was able to avoid agreeing to take responsibility for all migrants that enter the country with the goal of requesting asylum in the United States. But Ebrard did agree that asylum-seekers will be returned to Mexico while their cases are considered, a provision of the deal that expanded a smaller program.
Pompeo touted the compromise while warning that the U.S. will be watching to see if it has practical effect.
“The United States retained its ability to use its own determination of whether there was success along the border,” he said. “That means if it’s the case that we’re not making sufficient progress that there’s risk that those tariffs will go back in place.”