Mexico gov't rejects new United States immigration rules
- Author: Leroy Wright Feb 24, 2017,
Feb 24, 2017, 11:57
The U.S. secretary of Homeland Secretary, John Kelly, said at a press conference at the Mexican foreign ministry that there would be no large scale deportations from the United States or use of military force along the border - comments aimed at allaying Mexican fears about the Trump administration's ongoing immigration crackdown. But he said the two countries were committed to working through their disagreements.
President Donald Trump addressed the ties between the two nations earlier at the White House.
Noting that Tillerson was in Mexico City, Trump said: "That's going to be a tough trip".
Relations between the neighbours are at their lowest point for decades.
Last month, a planned visit by Pena Nieto to the White House was cancelled in the wake of a fiery spat over which nation will pay for Trump's border wall.
And just this week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security outlined policies that could result in the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants.
"Let me be very, very clear: There will be no, repeat, no mass deportations", Kelly said.
Relationships between the two countries have gone downhill quickly since Trump's win at the United States presidential election in November.
"There exists among Mexicans worry and irritation about what are perceived to be policies that could be harmful for the national interest and for Mexicans here and overseas", Videgaray said, l ooking stern as he stood beside the USA officials. "We are getting bad dudes out of this country at a rate we've never seen before".
"Today we have taken a good step but the differences between Mexico and the USA are still there", said Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray.
America's top diplomat and top USA counterterrorism official headed to Mexico Thursday for what could only be described as an awkward visit. Instead, Roberto Campa, the head of the Mexican Interior Ministry's human rights department, called out the Trump administration's deportation guidance that would send non-Mexicans caught illegally in the U.S. to Mexico as "hostile" and "unacceptable".
There were promises of cooperation, of closer economic ties, and frequent odes to the enduring partnership between the US and its southern neighbor.
During his meeting with business leaders on Thursday at the White House, Trump complained about the $70bn trade deficit with Mexico and the loss of American manufacturing jobs, since NAFTA was adopted more than 20 years ago. Former Mexican president Vicente Fox disagreed.
"There's a concern among Mexicans, there's irritation before what has been perceived as policies that might be harmful for the Mexicans", Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said through a translator.
Videgaray has placed high stakes on the visit.
The new strategy, outlined Tuesday, encourages tougher border security and stricter enforcement of immigration laws relating to undocumented migrants in the United States.
"In a relationship filled with vibrant colors, two strong sovereign countries from time to time will have differences", Tillerson said. "Both presidents are keen to set a positive tone, a constructive tone moving forward", the official added.
In a February 21 executive order, President Trump expanded the category of undocumented immigrants the US can deport to Mexico, including asylum-seekers from other countries.
The guidelines explained how more resources to enforce immigration law would be made available, including by allowing state and local law enforcement officials to perform the functions of immigration officers. "This is a moment of definition: the decisions we make in the coming months will determine how Mexico and the United States coexist for the next decades", he was quoted as saying at the G20 meeting in Bonn last week by the Los Angeles Times.
Such actions are prompting calls from prominent Mexicans for pushback. During his election campaign, Trump branded some immigrants from Mexico as rapists and criminals.