Mexican negotiators persuaded President Trump to back down from his tariff threat by agreeing to an unprecedented crackdown on Central American migrants and accepting more-expansive measures in Mexico if the initial efforts don’t deliver quick results, the Washington Post reports. The enforcement measures include the deployment of a militarized national guard at the Guatemalan border, thousands of additional migrant arrests per week and the acceptance of busloads of asylum seekers turned away from the U.S. border daily. The measures appear to be more substantial than what the Mexican government has attempted during the precipitous rise in migration to the U.S. border. Since heralding the pact in a Friday night tweet, Trump has fumed at criticism that he capitulated to Mexico and that his accord amounts to previously agreed-to measures.
U.S. officials were particularly impressed with Mexico’s pledge to deploy up to 6,000 national guard troops to its border region with Guatemala. Mexico described its plan to U.S. officials as “the first time in recent history that Mexico has decided to take operational control of its southern border as a priority.” Such language amounted to the kind of rhetorical shift Trump was looking for from the leftist government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who had dismissed migrant enforcement in Mexico as “dirty work” at the behest of the U.S. On Monday, Trump said his deal has “fully signed and documented” provisions that have not yet been disclosed, hinting at a plan that would give the U.S. the ability to deport most Central American asylum seekers. Most asylum seekers who reach U.S. soil now are released into the U.S. interior to await court proceedings, which can take months or years. The proposal would make asylum seekers instead apply for protection in the first foreign country they reach after departing their homeland.