President Donald Trump told reporters that he reached a secret pact with Mexico that will take effect when he wants it to - despite the country's insistence that there are no secret components of an immigration deal struck last week.
"We have fully signed and documented another very important part of the Immigration and Security deal with Mexico, one that the U.S. has been asking about getting for many years".
Despite the president's insistence that there is a secret deal, the Mexican government has denied that there are any undisclosed parts of the U.S. - Mexico deal. This would have the same effect as "safe third country" agreements, keeping migrants from traveling through countries where they could seek asylum if they weren't desperate to get to the United States for economic reasons. He said that in light of this deal "t$3 he Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the US on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended".
If this plan fails, the foreign minister said, Mexico will be designated a "safe third country", meaning that asylum seekers crossing through Mexican territory will need to apply for refuge there, rather than in the US. The Mexican peso rose more than 2% against the dollar.
"But it is more likely that Mexico will make some assurances that will be enough to get Trump to relent, while not changing anything fundamental on immigration".
Ebrard said Friday that the promised deployment of 6,000 officers from Mexico's newly created National Guard to the southern border would begin Monday.
The proposed tariffs would have increased 5% per month, maxing out at 25%, until Mexico brought the flow of illegal immigration to a stop.
Asylum seekers from El Salvador and Honduras first pass through Guatemala when fleeing their homes, while Cubans and Haitians often fly first to Panama before heading to the United States through Mexico.
Trump said he was going to slap steadily escalating tariffs on Mexico unless it did more to help with the border crisis, a threat with huge downside risks. "I just give you my word".
Close-up photographs of the paper reveal that it discusses "burden sharing in relation to the processing of refugees" - likely a reference to some kind of policy that would keep migrants seeking asylum in Mexico or elsewhere instead of the U.S. This avoids one of the biggest problems of our current policy, which allows asylum-seekers into the country, never to be removed, even if their claims are rejected and they are ordered deported.
"But we purposely said we wouldn't mention it for a little while ..."
Still, he said Mexico's interests are aligned with those of the USA and that it's "doing real things" and policing its borders. Still, Martha Barcena, Mexico's ambassador to Washington, told CBS News on the weekend there had been discussion of reducing the numbers to levels around those of 2018.
Ebrard also said there was no agreement between the United States and Mexico to purchase more agricultural products under the accord, despite Trump saying over the weekend that Mexico had agreed to buy "large quantities" from USA farmers.