Mexico gov't rejects new United States immigration rules

Cheryl Sanders
February 24, 2017

Kelly on Tuesday issued new orders to step up the detentions. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., toured the southern border, while Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee met with Mexican officials in Mexico City.

On Thursday, a pair of devastating articles in Politico and the Washington Post described how the former Exxon Mobil CEO has been cut out of the loop on major foreign policy shifts, slapped down by the White House on personnel choices, and given virtually no opportunities to make public appearances with President Trump.

Mr. Kelly shot that idea down, and White House press secretary Sean Spicer later said Mr. Trump was speaking descriptively, not literally, when he said "military operation".

"Unless Mexico will treat the U.S. fairly, with respect, such a meeting is fruitless, and I want to go a different route", Trump told GOP lawmakers at a retreat in Philadelphia.

Relations between the nations, which deteriorated previous year because of comments Mr Trump made during the campaign, have soured further as the United States president has continued to insist that Mexico would eventually be forced to pay for the wall he wants to build on the border.

The President has also ordered Cabinet agencies to inform him of the total direct and indirect aid the USA gives Mexico, a move that some see as an attempt to amass some leverage in the debate over the border wall that Trump insists will be built and that Mexico will pay for.

The idea is part of a raft of immigration proposals signed by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly that are likely to spur global and legal challenges. Read the story.


Thursday's talks - which were also attended by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Mexican Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong - come just days after the Department of Homeland Security released a pair of memos that detailed how it would implement President Trump's January 25 executive orders on immigration. He also rejected any suggestions that non-Mexican deportees would be deported to Mexico, dismissing the United States proposals as "unilateral".

U.S. administration officials said Kelly and Tillerson's trip was meant to allow the new Cabinet secretaries to establish relationships and coordinate on bilateral issues that range from counterterrorism, border security and trade amounting to $1.5 billion a day.

But he agreed that cooperation on border security had to work both ways.

"We don't have to, and it is not in the interest of Mexico", Videgaray said. "No relationship is flawless, and there is much to develop and improve in Mexico". Whereas President Barack Obama focused on deporting immigrants convicted of serious crimes, new memos signed by Kelly prioritize deportation for anyone convicted of a crime or charged with any offense.

That comment directly contradicted a statement President Trump made hours earlier.

The expansion of the policy faced a battering from Mexican officials on Wednesday as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson touched down in the capital to "walk through" the implementation of the new rules.

"The Mexican government and people do not have to accept measures that one government wants to impose unilaterally on another", Videgaray said late Wednesday.


"We underscored the importance of stopping the illegal firearms and bulk cash that is originating in the United States and flowing into Mexico", he said.

Tillerson and Videgaray are scheduled to have dinner Wednesday night, along with Kelly, the Mexican Secretary of Defense, and the Mexican Secretary of Navy.

"The relationship.is at such a historic low that it would be wishful thinking to assume that new concrete agenda items to advance will come at this point", Jason Marczak, director of the Atlantic Council's Latin America Economic Growth Initiative said. It also enables state and local law enforcement to act as immigration officers.

But as far as the 19 Democratic Revolution Party Senators are concerned, the two are not welcome in Mexico. The administration, however, sees things as on track.

Mexican officials did concede that their country has become the transit route for illegal immigrants streaming from Central America to the U.S. Perhaps previewing such a move, the Mexican foreign minister even threatened Wednesday to involve global organizations to defend the Mexican people.

Mexico is strongly against the new USA immigration measures and will do everything to protect its nationals overseas, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray emphasized.

Thursday's meetings will determine if such a bold move is necessary.


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