Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador rallied thousands of supporters in the northern border city of Tijuana on Saturday, saying that a new immigration deal with the United States would protect the human rights of migrants and maintain friendly ties with U.S.
Lopez Obrador said he was reluctantly prepared to slap retaliatory tariffs on US goods if negotiators in Washington had failed to strike a deal.
“We celebrate the important agreement of yesterday because it was a very difficult situation, very awkward doing the same and applying tariffs to some products of the US, the same measures, commercial restrictions similar to the ones that would be imposed on Mexican exports,” he said.
Under the deal, Mexico agreed to the immediate expansion along the entire border of a program under which the U.S. returns asylum-seeking migrants to Mexico to await adjudication of their cases.
The program, commonly known as Remain in Mexico, has been operating since January in the border cities of Tijuana, Mexicali and Ciudad Juarez.
Mexico will also reinforce its southern border with Guatemala with thousands of National Guard officers.
The deal, announced on Friday after three days of negotiations in Washington, averted President Donald Trump’s threatened imposition of 5% import tariffs on all Mexican goods starting on Monday, June 10.
“I am pleased to inform you that the United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico. The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended,” President Donald Trump said Friday on Twitter.
“Mexico, in turn, has agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border. This is being done to greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States,” Trump said.