Top U.S. Officials Met With Defiance in Visit to Mexico


MEXICO CITY—Top U.S. officials arrived for talks here Wednesday to find a defiant Mexican government refusing to accept President Donald Trump’s tougher immigration and deportation policies.

“I want to make it emphatically clear that neither Mexico’s government or the Mexican people have any reason to accept provisions that have been unilaterally imposed by one government on the other,” Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said at a ceremony on Wednesday.  

“We won’t accept it because we don’t have to,” he added, in an apparent reference to U.S. plans to return illegal migrants to Mexico, regardless of their nationality.

Mr. Videgaray’s declaration spelled trouble for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who a White House official said were sent to “talk through the implementation” of Mr. Trump’s guidelines.

Mexico City’s objection was the latest blow to U.S.-Mexico relations, which have frayed amid Mr. Trump’s vow to build a border wall estimated to cost $21 billion at Mexico’s expense and his plan to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The rupture resulted in the cancellation of a state visit last month by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

The White House on Wednesday brushed aside the ramped-up tensions between the two countries. “The relationship with Mexico is phenomenal right now,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.

Messrs. Tillerson and Kelly met with Mr. Videgaray and other government officials Wednesday night, and were scheduled to meet with Mr. Peña Nieto Thursday. Mr. Tillerson also will meet again with Mr. Videgaray and other officials then.

Mr. Trump’s new guidelines, which flesh out executive orders signed by the president last month, call for enlisting local U.S. authorities to enforce immigration law, jailing more people pending hearings, and sending border-crossers back to Mexico to await proceedings, even if they aren’t Mexican.

It is that detail of the new plan that has kindled the most acrimony in Mexico. Mexican officials said it meant the U.S. would deposit Mexicans and non-Mexicans alike on the southern side of the border, whether Mexico agreed to the plan or not. Mexican officials view the plan as an affront to Mexican sovereignty.

U.S. statistics show most of those entering the U.S. illegally through the southwest border are from countries other than Mexico.

Of more than 400,000 people apprehended in the year ending Sept. 30, more than 220,000 weren’t from Mexico, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Most were fleeing violence and poverty in Central America.

Mr. Videgaray said Wednesday that the new guidelines would be the main topic of the high-level discussions with Messrs. Tillerson and Kelly. He said Mexico would use all legal means to protect the rights of Mexicans in the U.S., and could call on the United Nations and other international institutions to that end.

At a news conference in Guatemala before continuing to Mexico, Mr. Kelly said Mr. Trump’s executive order in January was aimed at returning undocumented immigrants to their countries of origin. He said the order “emphasized the mission of intercepting irregular immigrants from many countries on our borders, treat them humanely and return them to their countries of origin as fast as possible.”

Mr. Kelly’s message in Guatemala was aimed at discouraging people from making the trip to the U.S. by telling them they would quickly be returned, officials said. The guidelines issued separately this week suggested the U.S. would seek to have people arriving from countries other than Mexico await their deportation proceedings in Mexico rather than in the U.S. At the end of that process, those people would be returned to their country of origin, officials said.

Ahead of the trip by Messrs. Tillerson and Kelly, senior administration officials sought to play down the rift with Mexico, saying Mr. Tillerson and Mr. Kelly aimed to clarify U.S. policy and find ways to work together with the country.

“This trip is focusing on how we can build a constructive relationship, work through our common interests on security, on migration, on the economic elements of the relationship,” a senior administration official said. “The wall is just one part of a broader relationship that we have.”

Another administration official said the visit aimed to “help our counterparts in Mexico understand clearly what is happening and how we see things, and not just relying on rumor or stories that they hear elsewhere.”

Tuesday’s directive also includes a review of all federal aid the U.S. provides to Mexico. In his Jan. 25 executive order, Mr. Trump ordered every executive department and agency to identify and quantify all sources of direct and indirect aid to the Mexican government over the last five years. That includes funding for development projects as well as economic, humanitarian and law-enforcement assistance.

Agencies have until the end of this month to report back to Mr. Tillerson, who is to submit a summary report to the White House.

U.S. officials said trade would be part of the talks in Mexico, but top U.S. and Mexican trade officials aren’t attending the meetings. Ahead of the visit, Mexican officials suggested that a U.S. pullout from Nafta would affect all aspects of U.S.-Mexico ties.

“Logically, there wouldn’t be incentives to continue collaborating on the issues most important to national security in North America, such as the issue of migration,” Mexico’s economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, told local newspaper Milenio in an interview published Tuesday.

In addition to tariff-free cross-border trade, Mexico and the U.S. have collaborated for decades on efforts to fight drug cartels, police the border and prevent terror attacks.

Mark Feierstein, a former senior aide to President Barack Obama on Latin America, said the measures represent a “dramatic and frankly unnecessary shift.”

“It’s pretty hard to screw up the U.S.-Mexico relationship and they managed to do it in a matter of days,” he said.

Mexican officials want to use issues including national security and migration as leverage for future talks about Nafta, experts said. The U.S., in examining aid to Mexico, also appears to be searching for leverage in future talks. The U.S. pledged $135 million in assistance to Mexico this year.

“Mexico wants to link those issues in a way that has rarely been done before,” said Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center, a Washington think tank. “There’s never been a need for that and Mexico has avoided it as much as possible, but now there is a need, so they’re doing it.”

5 thoughts on “Top U.S. Officials Met With Defiance in Visit to Mexico

  1. Oh, your taking em Mexico. Your taking em right up the a$$.
    I don’t care if we gotta do a flyover with transport planes and shove em out the backdoor without any parachutes!
    You’re f–kin taking em!
    Trump has assured everyone that members of his cabinet will be present on each of these planes and if any illegal aliens try to cling to the door frame on the way out, they will personally smack their fingers with a hammer.
    So, up yours Mexico!
    Oh, and by the way. DARPA is working on an aerosolized, bio-contaminant that only works on Mexicans.
    It’s called Spic-Spray!

  2. ““I want to make it emphatically clear that neither Mexico’s government or the Mexican people have any reason to accept provisions that have been unilaterally imposed by one government on the other,” Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said…”

    Accept ‘PROVISIONS’???

    This is how STUPID Mexicans are, and how STUPID they expect US to be (granted, it’s true in the case of many of the sheeple, but I’m talking about the intelligent among us).


    Keep talking sh#t, and the jews will make the so-called ‘government’ here start keeping that 25 BILLION in remittances that get sent to your trash heap daily. In other words…

    F%&K OFF, PEON!!!

    ……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
    ……….”…\………. _.·´


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