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Mexico, U.S. Reach Migration Accord, as U.S. Tariffs on Mexico Are ‘Indefinitely Suspended’

June 9 , 2019 (EIRNS)—Late June 7, after three days of negotiations, the U.S. and Mexican governments reached an agreement to address the unprecedented flow of undocumented migrants who are traversing Mexican territory from Central America to reach the U.S.-Mexican border. Both President Donald Trump and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador have been issuing positive messages since the new agreement.

President Trump tweeted the night of the announcement that he was pleased to announce the agreement and that

“the Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended. Mexico, in turn, has agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border. This is being done to greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States. ...Thank you!”

Following the deal, the two leaders spoke by phone. Yesterday, President López Obrador tweeted that

“I spoke by phone with President Trump, and I told him that in Tijuana [where a big support rally would be held June 8] I will say that, to the President of the United States I will not raise my clenched fist, but rather an open and frank hand. We repeated to each other our willingness to maintain friendship, dialogue and collaboration for the good of our peoples.”

The Tijuana rally was titled, “An Act of Unity in Defense of Mexico’s Dignity and in Favor of Friendship with the United States.” It brought out thousands to celebrate the new deal, including from southern California. Among the dignitaries attending were 28 of the country’s 31 governors, plus the Mayor of the Federal District, heads of the armed forces, congressional, business and labor leaders, and representatives of major religious and indigenous groups. The environment was one of enormous national pride and achievement. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who had just returned from a marathon negotiating session in Washington, addressed the crowd just before the President.

In his 30-minute speech, López Obrador offered a panoramic review of U.S.-Mexican relations, going back to the period of Mexican independence, and referenced, as he had recently, such high points as the “invaluable aid” that President Benito Juárez received from Abraham Lincoln “in his battle against the French invaders.” And, he noted, Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Lazaro Cárdenas “maintained exemplary relations, despite [Mexico’s] oil expropriation of 1938.” He also documented how the imposition of neoliberalism in Mexico in the 1990s had deindustrialized the country and forced tens of thousands of Mexicans to emigrate.

López Obrador noted that the June 7 agreement in Washington is being celebrated because had tariffs been imposed, it would have placed him in the very difficult situation of imposing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports. As a pacifist, in the tradition of Mahatmas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela, he said, “I reject acts of reprisal.” But as President, he could now allow threats to his nation’s economy and dignity.

López Obrador expressed great optimism that the U.S. had agreed to collaborate with Mexico in programs to develop southern Mexico and Central America.

“We’ve said we’ll resove the migration problem by attacking its profound causes: that is, through promoting development and fortifying well-being and peace. We’re already doing this in Mexico, but to do this in the nations of Central America and the Caribbean, the cooperation of the United States, Canada and other developed countries is indispensable.”

Mexico has agreed to toughen up enforcement measures on its southern border with Guatemala, and take a number of other steps to curb illegal migration across its national territory, as well as crack down on the illicit financial and drug-trafficking apparatus at the center of the migration operation. The agreement also addresses the crucial issue of promoting Central American economic development and the poverty and violence which cause citizens to leave their nations.

In his tweets, Foreign Minister Ebrard emphasized that Mexico is a “generous country,” in terms of how it has always dealt with immigrants, but added that it should now be clear that “we’re not a country which serves only for people to pass through anonymously, from one [border] to the other ... people who are going to enter our country have to register ... that is a priority.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo congratulated Ebrard for the “hard work” of the Mexican delegation over the three days of negotiations. “The United States looks forward to working alongside Mexico to fulfill these commitments so that we can stem the tide of illegal migration across our southern border and to make our border strong and secure.” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin tweeted his congratulations, but warned that should Mexico not live up to its side of the deal, President Trump retains his authority to impose tariffs on Mexican imports.

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