President Donald Trump on Friday night announced his administration has struck a deal with Mexico over curbing migrant flows toward the U.S. border after a dramatic week of threats and negotiation.
“I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico,” the president tweeted after returning from a European swing. “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. Details of the agreement will be released shortly be the State Department,” he added.
Then he included a message for the Mexican government: “Thank you!”
Trump made his remarks as he arrived at the White House after a five-day swing through the United Kingdom, Ireland and France. The Republican president had been insistent on putting the tariffs in place even as GOP lawmakers were urging him to reconsider.
As Air Force One crossed the Atlantic Ocean, the president raised hopes for a deal with the Mexican government that would stave off tariffs on goods coming from America’s southern neighbor, starting at 5 percent and escalating on the first of each month to a high of 25 percent on Oct. 1.
The tariffs became the primary issue in negotiations that were fundamentally about migration. Trump said Mexico wasn’t doing enough to stop the migration of Central Americans to the southern U.S border. Border agents detained or turned back more than 144,000 migrants at the southwest border in May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported Wednesday. That number is up 32 percent from April, and includes individuals who turned themselves in at or between ports of entry to seek asylum, as well as those who tried to slip by without being detected. May is the third consecutive month in which this total surpassed 100,000.
Trump’s reminder that anything but a deal Friday would result in the imposition of import duties came as cable news networks — which often play on Air Force One — were showing footage of Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, telling reporters at the White House that Trump could shut down the tariffs if negotiations progress over the weekend.
Throughout Thursday and Friday, White House officials echoed their boss by insisting he planned to go ahead with the 5 percent tariffs if no deal was reached.
Pence was among the administration officials involved in the talks while the president was in Europe. He said this week the two would go over what was discussed with the Mexican delegation, then Trump would make a final decision on giving the tariff order. That appears to have gone quickly.