by NEIL MUNRO
11 Sep 2019
Mexican officials suggested Tuesday’s migration talks in the White House were acrimonious, but U.S. leaders portrayed the talks as a success.
“The leaders agreed that while progress has been made, more work remains in order to further reduce the flow of illegal migrants to the United States,” said an official readout statement released by the White House.
The statement added, “the leaders agreed to implement the Migrant Protection Protocols to the fullest extent possible.”
The MPP protocols — also called “Remain in Mexico” — have allowed U.S. officials to return more than 42,000 migrants back to Mexico before their asylum hearing in the United States. The returns mean the migrants are not released into the United States to get jobs or to give birth to U.S.-citizen children.
Mexico’s foreign minister chose to publicly highlight the two countries’ differences by denouncing a prior proposal that U.S. officials have not recently demanded in public. That proposal was to have Mexico sign a “Safe Third Country” agreement that would make it responsible for all migrants who crossed through the country on the way to the U.S. border.
In June, the Mexican government persuaded Trump they would block the migration without having to sign a “Safe Third” deal.
“Mexico is not and will not accept being a ‘Safe Third Country,’” Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s minister of foreign affairs, announced the day before the talks. He also touted Mexico’s crackdown which has reduced migrant arrivals at the U.S. border from 143,000 in May to just 64,600 in August.
The migration reductions achieved since June are “irreversible,” Ebrard said in a press conference after his meetings with Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump.
Notably, Ebrard did not denounce the Remain in Mexico program, which has the potential wreck the cartel’s labor-trafficking business into the United States.