8 Jun 2019

US and Mexico agree on plan to stem flow of migrants - Trump

3:45 pm on 8 June 2019

Mexico has agreed to take "unprecedented steps" to help stem the flow of migrants to America in order to avoid trade tariffs threatened by US President Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump delivers a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House, Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Washington.

Photo: AP

Mr Trump revealed that a deal had been reached to suspend the tariffs "indefinitely" in a series of tweets.

He had threatened to implement import duties of five percent, rising to 25 percent by October, unless Mexico acted to curb migration.

The deal, also confirmed in a tweet by Mexico's Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, comes at the end of three days of negotiations, which saw Washington demand a crackdown on Central American migrants.

What do we know about the deal so far?

In a joint declaration, the two countries said Mexico would take "unprecedented" steps to curb irregular migration and human trafficking.

Under the deal, Mexico will deploy its National Guard to throughout the country, with a priority along the US-Mexico border, from Monday.

The US will also expand its program of sending asylum seekers back to Mexico whilst they await legal reviews of their cases.

Mr Ebrard told press that the deal was a "fair balance" between both nations.

What tariffs had Trump threatened?

Under his proposal, duties on would rise by five percent every month on goods including cars, beer, tequila, fruit and vegetables.

Mr Trump made the announcement on Twitter last week, catching members of his own party and financial markets unawares.

What's the situation on the US-Mexico border?

The stakes were raised on Wednesday as US Customs and Border Protection announced that migrant arrests had surged in May to the highest level in more than a decade.

Border Patrol apprehended 132,887 migrants attempting to enter the US from Mexico in May, marking a 33 percent increase from the month before.

It said 84,542 were families and 11,507 unaccompanied children.

The arrests were the highest monthly total since Mr Trump took office.

Another 11,391 migrants were deemed "inadmissible" and turned away after arriving at US ports of entry, bringing the overall figure to 144,278.

"We are in a full-blown emergency, and I cannot say this stronger, the system is broken," said acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders.

How do the numbers compare with previous years?

Official figures show illegal border crossings have been in decline since 2000.

In 2000, 1.6 million people were apprehended trying to cross the border illegally - that number was just under 400,000 in 2018.

In 2017, Mr Trump's first year in office, the figures were the lowest they had been since 1971.

The decline was in large part due to a dip in the number of people coming from Mexico.

In the past two years, however, the number of arrests has been rising again, especially in recent months.

Last week, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador agreed to increase border security on his country's northern border.


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