Published: Sat, June 08, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

House chairman says he'd try to block tariffs

House chairman says he'd try to block tariffs

'That's really an invasion without guns...'

American importers are warning the White House and members of Congress that a logistical nightmare could unfold if President Donald Trump follows through on his threat to impose tariffs on all Mexican imports starting Monday.

The Mexican official and the US official said the countries are negotiating a sweeping plan to overhaul asylum rules across the region, a move that would require Central Americans to seek refuge in the first foreign country they set foot upon after fleeing their homeland.

But in the U.S. capital, negotiators holding a second day of talks were still trying to find agreement on issues including asylum application procedures and financial aid to the Central American countries that are the source of most of the migrants.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard spent several hours at the State Department on Thursday morning, and additional talks were expected in the afternoon at the White House between Trump's legal counsel and other Mexican aides.

Carmakers were pressing Republican politicians in the US Congress to contact the White House to try to convince the president not to move forward with the tariffs, people briefed on the matter told Reuters News Agency. The tariffs, Trump warned, would increase by increments of 5 percentage points every month, reaching a potential maximum of 25% by October.

"They have step up to the plate, and perhaps they will", Trump told reporters in France where he was attending D-Day commemorations.

"That's really an invasion without guns", Trump told interviewer Laura Ingraham.

"Mexico wants to really share the enforcement burden with the United States", said Christopher Wilson of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center think tank.

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Democratic House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal said he will introduce a resolution of disapproval to stop the tariffs if Trump goes through with his threat, panning it as presidential "overreach". "And I'm very happy with it".

In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador would not say whether he would accept his country agreeing to be a "safe third country".

Earlier in the week Ebrard rejected the idea, but the White House declared it one of its principal demands.

After Mexico-U.S. talks wrapped up on Wednesday, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence stated that the discussions had yielded "not almost enough" progress.

The proposal would also allow the United States to deport Guatemalan asylum seekers to Mexico and Honduran and Salvadoran asylum seekers to Guatemala.

Recent weeks have already seen a proliferation of immigration checkpoints in southern Mexico and police raids on migrant centers.

On Thursday the finance ministry's financial intelligence unit announced it had blocked the accounts of 26 people for "their probable link with human trafficking and illicit support of migrant caravans".

Border Patrol apprehended over half a million illegal migrants this fiscal year. In a context where the US has just demonstrated that its commitments in trade agreements are effectively meaningless - as it feels entitled to unilaterally impose tariffs at any time, by invoking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act - winning such concessions from AMLO would seem all but impossible.

Meanwhile Carla Provost, the head of the US Border Patrol, downplayed the issue of asylum, saying migrants simply understand that, due to US laws, if they arrive with children, they will likely be released into the United States.

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