However, as part of that deal, it appears the U.S. did not get Mexico to agree to a “safe third country” agreement where asylum seekers would be granted asylum in Mexico and unable to claim asylum in the U.S. Instead, the administration says it will expand its policy of deporting asylum seekers to Mexico to await adjudication of their cases. Mexico will accept those people and offer them services like health care and education.
That policy is currently being contested in federal court, although the Ninth Circuit ruled that the administration could implement as a final determination is reached.
In response, Mexico agreed to strengthen its border security — a nod to the 6,000 Border Guard officers that the nation announced Thursday — and take “decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks.”
While Trump has repeatedly threatened to cut off development funds for Central America and the State Department moved to implement a cut in March (but hasn’t fully followed through), Friday’s statement appeared to contradict that idea and noted the importance of those development dollars. While it doesn’t commit any new U.S. dollars to such efforts, it underscores that “both countries recognize the strong links between promoting development and economic growth in southern Mexico and the success of promoting prosperity, good governance and security in Central America.”
On Saturday morning, the president tweeted that Mexico, the second largest market for U.S. agricultural products, also agreed to immediately “begin buying large quantities” from American farmers. It was unclear, however, what the president was referring to as no agricultural trade commitment was included in the joint declaration. The White House and USDA did not respond a request for comment.
The agreement will be revisited within 90 days and the two sides will announce further action before then as they continue conversations.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard called the tariff deal “fair.”
“I think its a fair balance because they have more drastic measures and proposals at the start and we reached some middle point,” Ebrard said.
Ebrard stressed that the Mexican government will demand migrants register and maintain a status while they are in the country. In addition, he said Mexico is “not a country just to pass from one side to the other anonymously.”
“We demand that all people who cross Mexico have to register and they must be given a status. Mexico is a very generous country, we have given visas of very different types, temporary work permits,” Ebrard said. “Secondly, let’s be clear, we are not a country just to pass from one side to the other anonymously, because among other things that caused the tragedy of San Fernando. So our policy is that.”
The announcement of a deal between the two nations came as Trump faced difficulties in moving forward with tariffs against Mexico. His own party offered a major roadblock.
“There is not much support in my conference for tariffs, that’s for sure,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said at a press conference following a lunch on Tuesday, where White House officials tried to make their case for tariffs to skeptical Republicans.
McConnell would not say how far he was willing to go to block the president.
Late Friday, McConnell tweeted, “I am glad President Trump has secured a commitment from the Mexican government to do more to secure their own borders and control the flow of people through their country. The security and humanitarian crisis on the southern border of the United States is unacceptable and Mexico has a crucial role to play as a responsible neighbor.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., sarcastically referred to the president’s accomplishment to “greatly reduce, or eliminate, illegal immigration” as “an historic night.”
“Now that that problem is solved, I’m sure we won’t be hearing any more about it in the future,” Schumer said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the president of undermining American leadership in the region by “recklessly” threatening to impose tariffs on Mexico.
“We are deeply disappointed by the Administration’s expansion of its failed Remain-in-Mexico policy, which violates the rights of asylum seekers under U.S. law and fails to address the root causes of Central American migration,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate foreign policy.”
Top advisers, including Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, pushed back on the president’s proposal to impose a 5% tariff on goods from Mexico, multiple White House sources told ABC News.
ABC News’ Danny Carranza and Amanda Maile contributed to this report.