President Donald Trump said "not almost enough" progress was made in talks with Mexico to mitigate the flow of undocumented migrants and illegal drugs, raising the likelihood that the USA will follow through with tariffs next week.
Mexican officials will seek to persuade the White House in high-stakes talks hosted by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday that their government has done enough to stem immigration and avoid looming tariffs.
The president has repeatedly stood by his plan to impose 5% across the board tariffs on Mexico in the face of bipartisan opposition. "The higher the Tariffs go, the higher the number of companies that will move back to the US!"
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was chairing the meeting on Wednesday afternoon with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard to try to broker an agreement.
The proposed tariffs have also been criticized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and industry groups due to concerns about increased costs for U.S. businesses and consumers of imported Mexican goods from cars and auto parts to beer and fruit.
The shipment delays would affect vehicles with high inventory levels on US dealer lots if the tariffs take effect as threatened.
Trump said earlier in the day he thought Mexico wants to reach an agreement.
The White House has so far been vague about what Trump, the self-avowed "Tariff Man", expects Mexico to do to avoid the duties.
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Republican Senator Ron Johnson, who has been critical of the Trump administration's approach to trade policy, said that there are not enough votes to override a presidential veto. But he said those job gains would probably be in lower-earning positions than the ones lost by the tariffs on Mexico. In some recent months, USA authorities say that more than 100,000 undocumented migrants, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, have crossed into the U.S.to look for work and escape violence and poverty in their homelands.
Mexico plays a vital role in the USA auto industry, which depends on Mexican parts.
Those numbers reached their highest level in more than a decade last month.
Most of the apprehensions are families or children traveling alone, pressuring a USA immigration system that has struggled to humanely detain and care for them. "They want more Mexican security on its own southern border and in choke points in southern Mexico to prevent people (Central Americans, and at this point Africans, Bangladeshis, Middle Easterners, etc) from actually making it through Mexico".
Tony Wayne, a former USA ambassador to Mexico, said the two sides could have a good meeting and reach a deal, but still not satisfy the "wild card" president. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump should delay any tariffs until he can personally make his case to lawmakers. He also said Toyota remains hopeful negotiations between the United States and Mexico on trade and immigration policy will lead to a deal that can be "resolved quickly". The new trade pact, called the U.S. -Canada-Mexico agreement, was already at risk of stalling in Congress.
"Trump has got his new tool and he wants to use it and he will use it. because it's part of his negotiation tactics", said Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center think-tank in Washington.
"If the Congress lets Trump get away with this, he will be free to slap tariffs on any country or any product at any time for whatever reason he dreams up", Alden said in a blog post, adding that the president's decision to link trade to immigration and refugee concerns is an "especially risky escalation".
The Office of Refugee Resettlement, which takes care of the thousands of unaccompanied children that cross the border each month, said Wednesday that it has had to cut back secondary services it provides them, including legal aid, education, and recreation.