After a week of threatening to put tariffs on Mexican goods unless the country managed to reduce immigration by an unknown quantity, Donald Trump yesterday announced that Mexico and the US had “reached a signed agreement”.
He announced the tariffs would be indefinitely suspended as Mexico had “agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of migration”, claiming predictably in a separate tweet: “Everyone very excited about the new deal with Mexico!”
Firstly, there are many people who are emphatically not “excited”.
More importantly, significant aspects of the deal were revealed by the New York Times to have been agreed long before Trump’s empty threats.
During secret meetings in March, Mexico agreed to deploy the National Guard along its southern border, one of the key points in the joint declaration released yesterday.
In fact, Mexican authorities have already been cracking down on undocumented migrants near the country's southern border for some time, sowing fear among large numbers of Central Americans fleeing violence and persecution in Venezuela, El Paso, Honduras. and Guatemala.
@realDonaldTrump there is no deal. just a fake problem created by you, that you pretended to solve
Mr Trump also claimed that Mexico had agreed to "begin buying large quantities of agricultural products" from the US.
But as Mexico is already the US's second largest importer of agricultural goods, like corn, soybeans and pork, it's hard to see how this will increase. Furthermore, three Mexican officials present during talks between the two countries on Friday said that trade had not been discussed.
@realDonaldTrump Something tells me they aren’t buying it and we certainly aren’t buying it.
According to the joint statement on the deal, sylum-seekers are now to be "rapidly returned" to Mexico while awaiting a verdict. It says:
In response, Mexico will authorise 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.
Some felt that this was of further embarrassment to President Trump.
@realDonaldTrump It is absolutely shameful that Mexico, a much poorer country than the U.S., will offer the asylum… https://t.co/dQoFXqCRzr
— Defend the truth. Defeat the lies. (@Defend the truth. Defeat the lies.)
@realDonaldTrump You’re basically saying that, as a nation, Mexico is more principled than the United States.