U.S.-Mexico deal reaction after threatened tariffs split along party lines

A group asylum seekers from Venezuela sit in the cold and wait to cross the U.S. border from Reynosa, Mexico, on January 26. In an agreement between the United States and Mexico reached Friday, asylum seekers will be returned to Mexico to await adjudication of their claims, and authorize their entrance for humanitarian reasons. File photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI

June 8 (UPI) — Reaction to President Donald Trump’s announcement Friday that a deal has been reached with Mexico to avoid tariffs has been split along party lines.

The deal reached Friday drops proposed 5 percent tariffs on all goods from Mexico in exchange for Mexico taking stronger measures to stem an influx of Central American migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexican border. The tariffs would have otherwise been implemented on Monday.

“Mexico will 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,” the U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration stated. “Mexico is also taking decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks.”

The United States and Mexico both agreed to enhance cooperation to protect U.S.-Mexico border, “including information sharing,” the declaration added.

The threat of tariffs came as Mexico planned to deploy 6,000 troops from its newly formed National Guard to the country’s southern border with Guatemala.

Meanwhile, the United States said it would expand implementation of existing “Migrant Protection Protocols,” across the southern border. This means rapidly returning asylum seekers to Mexico to await adjudication of their asylum claims, and authorize their entrance for humanitarian reasons. Both parties agreed to take further action if the measures do not achieve the expected results and finalize additional provisions within 90 days.

Though Republicans along with Democrats largely voiced concern about economic fallout from tariffs on Mexico, the deal has now been praised by Republicans as Democrats remain skeptical.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said there was not much support for the Mexico tariffs, and he hoped that the tariffs would be avoided.

Now that the tariffs have been avoided, McConnell posted a statement on Twitter praising the president.

“I am glad President Trump has secured a commitment from the Mexican government to do more to secure their own borders and control the flow of people through their country,” the statement said. “The security and humanitarian crisis on the southern border of the United States is unacceptable and Mexico has a crucial role to play as a responsible neighbor.”

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., mocked Trump’s boasting on the deal.

“This is an historic night!” Schumer said sarcastically in Twitter post Friday night.

The president “has announced that he has cut a deal ‘to greatly reduce, or eliminate, illegal immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States,’ Schumer added, quoting the president. “Now that that problem is solved, I’m sure we won’t be hearing any more about it in the future.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump had “undermined America’s preeminent leadership role in the world” by threatening tariffs over Mexico.

“We are deeply disappointed by the Administration’s expansion of its failed Remain-in-Mexico policy, which violates the rights of asylum seekers under U.S. law and fails to address the root causes of Central American migration,” Pelosi said in the statement.

“Congress will continue to hold the Trump Administration accountable for its failures to address the humanitarian situation at our southern border. President Trump must stop sabotaging good-faith, constructive, and bipartisan efforts in Congress to address this complex problem in a humane manner that honors and respects our most cherished national values.”

She added: “Threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate foreign policy.”

Beto O’Rourke, the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful from Texas, was more direct in his criticism of Trump despite the deal.

“The damage of Trump’s reckless trade policies and tariffs has already been done,” O’Rourke said. “What we see is yet another example of him trying to be both the arsonist who created this problem in the first place and the firefighter who wants credit for addressing it.”

Still, Trump defended the deal.

“Mexico will try very hard, and if they do that, this will be a very successful agreement for both the United States and Mexico!” Trump said in Twitter post Saturday.

He tweeted in all caps that Mexico agreed to immediately begin buying “large quantities” of agricultural products from “our great patriot farmers.”


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