Frustrated by a perceived lack of cooperation from Mexico in stemming the flow of migrants into the U.S., President Trump vowed yesterday to apply a 5% tariff to all goods imported from that country “until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory .”
The announcement came one day after Border Patrol agents apprehended a group 1000 migrants illegally crossing the border, the largest single group ever taken into custody. Trump tweeted a video of the event on Thursday.
The announcement of the impending tariff was met with the usual chorus of carping and nay-saying from the usual sources.
A Chamber of Commerce functionary said, “The president’s announcement is baffling and, if carried out, will be terribly damaging.” One trade lawyer called it “legal but preposterous.” Another expressed skepticism that the President would carry through with the threat.
Mexican officials, for their part, fumed. Mexico’s deputy foreign minister for North America, Jesús Seade, said the threatened tariffs would be “disastrous” and promised his country would respond “strongly.” Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who had vowed before taking office that “We are not going to chase migrants. We are not going to criminalize them,” saw fit to lecture the President and the American people, saying:
“How did a country of fraternity for all the migrants in the world become, from night to dawn, a ghetto, a closed space. The statue of liberty is not an empty symbol.”
This coming from a virtual narco-state, a failed state that has historically been one of the world’s most corrupt.
That said, it is certainly true that Mexico has done little to stem the flow of migrants but the responsibility is not solely theirs. It is our border too, and we have been sadly remiss in protecting it.
For more, see the Associated Press.