President Trump is calling for a 5 percent tariff on Mexican products delivered into the United States, with a plan for further 5 percent increases until America’s southern neighbor halts illegal immigration into the United States.
The hundreds of thousands who have arrived in recent months are “overwhelming our schools, overcrowding our hospitals, draining our welfare system, and causing untold amounts of crime.”
“Gang members, smugglers, human traffickers, and illegal drugs and narcotics of all kinds are pouring across the southern border and directly into our communities. Thousands of innocent lives are taken every year as a result of this lawless chaos. It must end NOW!” he said.
He explained that Mexico has good immigration laws and easily could halt the flow of illegal aliens from Central America into the U.S. if it wanted to.
But it hasn’t, resulting in “the United States [suffering] the severe and dangerous consequences of illegal immigration.”
“Sadly, Mexico has allowed this situation to go on for many years, growing only worse with the passage of time. From a safety, national security, military, economic, and humanitarian standpoint, we cannot allow this grave disaster to continue,” the president said. “The current state of affairs is profoundly unfair to the American taxpayer, who bears the extraordinary financial cost imposed by large-scale illegal migration. Even worse is the terrible and preventable loss of human life. Some of the most deadly and vicious gangs on the planet operate just across our border and terrorize innocent communities.”
His proposal is to impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods coming into the U.S. from Mexico starting June 10.
“If the illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico, to be determined in our sole discretion and judgment, the tariffs will be removed. If the crisis persists, however, the tariffs will be raised to 10 percent on July 1, 2019. Similarly, if Mexico still has not taken action to dramatically reduce or eliminate the number of illegal aliens crossing its territory into the United States, Tariffs will be increased to 15 percent on August 1, 2019, to 20 percent on September 1, 2019, and to 25 percent on October 1, 2019,” Trump announced.
He said the tariffs would remain until the illegal flow is addressed, with the result that companies may start moving back to the U.S.
“We have confidence that Mexico can and will act swiftly to help the United States stop this long-term, dangerous, and deeply unfair problem. The United States has been very good to Mexico for many years. We are now asking that Mexico immediately do its fair share to stop the use of its territory as a conduit for illegal immigration into our country,” the president said.
The AP suggested the effort could risk “upending other policy priorities, like the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a trade deal with is the cornerstone of Trump’s legislative agenda and seen as beneficial to his reelection effort. It also risks further damaging the already strained relationship between the U.S. and Mexico, two countries whose economics are deeply intertwined.”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador appeared to discount in a statement the significance of any national boundaries, saying “social problems are not solved with duties or coercive measures.”
On Twitter, Trump said, “Because of the Dems, our Immigration Laws are BAD. Mexico makes a FORTUNE from the U.S., have for decades, they can easily fix this problem.”
Several lawmakers expressed concern about the possible impact on trade, but in an appearance on Fox News, Sarah Sanders, White House press secretary, insisted the administration had “thought through” the move.
“Congress has failed, and at the same time, Mexico has the ability to step up and do more. The president has been asking them for months to do that, and now he is putting some measures in place that hopefully will get them to engage more so that they will start to help us in this process,” she said.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down a little over 1 percent, about 300 points, early Friday on the news.