Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that President Donald Trump is “absolutely determined” to pressure both Congress and Mexico to do something about the humanitarian crisis at the southern border.
Later on Thursday, Trump announced a new tariff on imports from Mexico in order to spur the Mexican government’s cooperation in discouraging Central American migrants from passing through to the U.S.
Trump determined to fix border crisis
Prior to Trump’s announcement, Pence told reporters, “The president is absolutely determined to use the authorities he has as president to call on Congress, to call on Mexico, to do more to address this humanitarian crisis on our border.”
“We also need to see Mexico do more,” he continued. “As the president said earlier today, he’s considering additional action using his authority as president, under the law, to make it clear to Mexico that they have to do more. They have to enter into a greater level of cooperation with the United States.”
The vice president added that everyone would soon “see the president take action to call on Mexico to do more, to call on Congress to close the loopholes that have created and contributed to this massive humanitarian crisis.”
Pence met with the Canadian parliament and prime minister on Thursday to discuss the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.
Some in the media may have suspected that tariffs were a tool Trump might use to compel cooperation from Mexico, as Pence was asked if new tariffs might make it more difficult to get the USMCA trade deal ratified.
The vice president replied, “I don’t want to comment on what may or may not occur. … Whatever action the president may take in the days ahead will be about addressing the immediate humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.”
“We really believe that if Congress will close the loopholes, if our neighbors to the south will do more, we can address this crisis, and we can move forward and improve the trading relationship between our three countries for generations to come,” he added.
Later the same day, Trump announced via Twitter that a 5 percent tariff will be imposed on all goods imported from Mexico on June 10. A statement released by the White House provided additional details, noting the tariff would increase by an additional 5 percent every month thereafter until it reached 25 percent or Mexico cooperated in stopping the immigration flow.
Trump and tariffs
Some Republicans said they were surprised by the announcement, but White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “If Republicans weren’t aware, they haven’t been paying attention. Anyone surprised by this has been living under a rock.”
Critics worry that a number of U.S. businesses with manufacturing plants in Mexico will take a hit if the tariffs go into effect. Trump defended the tactic Friday, tweeting, “In order not to pay Tariffs, if they start rising, companies will leave Mexico, which has taken 30% of our Auto Industry, and come back home to the USA.”
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