Trump Claims 'Biggest Part of Mexico Deal' Not Revealed

The writer is a former caretaker finance minister and has served as vice-president of the World Bank

President Donald Trump warned on Twitter that tariffs were still on the table if Mexico's government failed to agree to try to stop immigrants from reaching the US border.

Mr. Trump left a conflicted impression of who is driving the secret agreement and when the public might see it.

"It was all done because of the tariffs and because of the relationship that we have with Mexico", he told reporters Monday, following a call-in interview with CNBC Monday morning in which he said officials had "talked about it for months and months and months", but couldn't reach agreement until the threat. Pompeo acknowledged that it was "something that we pressed for with them throughout the time of the negotiations".

But moments later he called the side agreement "my option".

But Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico's foreign minister, said on Monday that "there is no other thing beyond [the previously announced terms]".

The Wall Street Journal reported that Mexico has promised that if it can't adequately stem the tide of migrants flowing to the north, it will agree to implement a "regional" system that requires Central Americans to apply for asylum in the first "safe" country they enter.

The plan to levy tariffs came to a halt after Mexico and the United States reached an agreement to curb illegal immigration. "And that was a big victory for us", he said.

"We have been trying to get some of these Border Actions for a long time, as have other administrations, but were not able to get them, or get them in full, until our signed agreement with Mexico", Trump tweeted.

"They have to work and get something done because you got a tremendous problem at the border".

"I would be surprised if he didn't go, I think he is going".

His comments came as Customs and Border Protection said agents apprehended more than 132,000 illegal immigrants at the southern border in May, the most in more than 10 years.

USA border officers apprehended more than 132,000 people crossing from Mexico in May, the highest monthly level since 2006.

Washington wants Mexico to be declared a safe third country in which asylum seekers would have to seek safe harbor instead of the United States, a demand Mexico has rejected in the past.

Over the weekend, Trump announced a deal with Mexico had been reached in order to hold off tariffs that were set to go into affect today.

Mexico's ambassador to the U.S. predicted on Sunday that trade in agricultural goods "could increase dramatically" now that tariffs aren't going ahead and if the USMCA, the trilateral trade pact with the U.S., Mexico and Canada created to replace NAFTA, is ratified - but didn't cite a specific deal with Washington on farm purchases.

Last week, the nations signed a last-minute deal to avert the implementation of the tariffs Trump slapped on all Mexican goods.

"Two weeks ago, I'll tell you what we had, we had nothing!" he said, disputing reports that Mexico had agreed to deploy National Guard troops to the Guatemalan border in March.

The president called the story "fake news" and insisted the deal was brand new.

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