Donald Trump brandished a document on Tuesday confirming details of a regional asylum project agreed with Mexico to stave off threatened tariffs, saying the plan was “secret” even though Mexican officials had revealed much of it.
Trump, who has made containing illegal immigration a priority issue and has blamed Mexico for the problem since running for office in 2016, did not show the text of any document or give any details. However, a Reuters photograph of the sheet of paper allowed reporters to read parts of it.
Mexico signed a pact last week agreeing to control the flow of people from Central America, including deploying 6,000 members of a new national guard along its border with Guatemala.
Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said Mexico also agreed to a 45-day timeline to show increased enforcement efforts were effective in reducing the people flows. If that fails, Mexico has agreed to consider a longstanding US demand that Central American asylum seekers crossing through Mexico apply for refuge there, not the United States, making Mexico a “safe third country”, a demand that Mexico has long rejected.
“Safe third country could be applied if we fail, and we accept what they say,” Ebrard said on Tuesday evening, noting that Mexican legislators would then give consideration to accommodating a change in migration law.
Nevertheless, Ebrard said other Latin American countries should share the burden, something that the United States appeared to have agreed to.
The document that Trump waved at reporters laid out “a regional approach to burden-sharing in relation to the processing of refugee status claims to migrants”; talked of “45 days”; and said Mexico had committed to immediately examine its laws and rules to enable it to implement such an agreement.