President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on vehicle imports from Mexico unless America’s neighbor to the south puts in an effort to stop illegal immigration and drug trafficking into the U.S.
He even brought up the possibility of a 25% tariff so as to force Mexico’s hand speaking to reporters in the Cabinet Room of the White House on Thursday afternoon.
“Before we close the border we’ll put the tariffs on cars. I don’t think we’ll ever have to close the border because the penalty of tariffs on cars coming into the United States from Mexico at 25% will be massive,” he said, as reported by Autonews.
“A lot of good things are happening with Mexico. Mexico understands that we’re going to close the border, or I’m going to tariff the cars,” he added.
According to the President, Mexico now has one year at its disposal to enforce border security or face the consequences. Whether Trump will follow through with his threat, that’s a completely different story, seen as how his initial threat was to close the border this week – unless Mexico “immediately stop all illegal immigration coming into the United States through our southern border.”
Of course, stopping illegal immigration into the U.S. was a centerpiece for Trump during his 2016 run for the presidency. However, his attempts to build an actual wall on the border to stop migrants have mostly failed as Congress refused to fund such a project, which then led to Trump declaring a national emergency to divert funds from other projects.
As for Mexico’s position, Martha Barcena, the country’s ambassador to the U.S. told the Associated Press that they were working to make their border “more orderly” but that “migration will never be stopped.”
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:
“A lot of good things are happening with Mexico. Mexico understands that we will close the border or I’m going to tariffs the cars. One or the other. Probably start off with the tariffs. That will be a powerful incentive. Because Mexico has the strongest immigration laws anywhere in the word. They don’t have courts like we do. We have a stupid system of courts. It’s the craziest thing in the world. We could be the only country that has it. You put a foot on the property, you put a foot into the United States, congratulations, go get Perry Mason to represent you. You end up with a court case. Then they release you and you come back four or five years later, but nobody comes back. 2% come back. The not so smart ones come back. It’s the most ridiculous system anyone has seen.
And we have catch and release and chain migration. Somebody comes in and brings the whole family. Your grandparents, brothers, sister, cousins. Craziest thing I’ve seen, put in by Democrats. The Democrats will straighten it out. If they don’t straighten it out, and I predicted this. I hate to see it but I can say I was right. I told everybody. You have a national emergency at our border and nobody even talks about drugs. The drugs that are flowing in.
For the last four days, and you actually have covered it, to a very minor extent, Mexico has been capturing people and bringing them back to their countries at their southern border. They have been taking people, under their very powerful laws they have the right to do it, and they’re bringing them back to where they came from. It’s been three days since they heard I was going to close the border.
But before I close the border, if Mexico, and we love Mexico, we love the country of Mexico. We have two problems. We have the fact that they allow people to pour into our country. We have to stop them. Border patrol and ICE have been incredible. The other problem is drugs.
Massive amount, most of the drug, much of the drugs coming into our country come through the southern border. In all different ways. Much of it where we don’t have walls. The wall is under construction, by the way. We’ll be meeting on Friday at a piece of the wall we have completed. A big piece. A lot of it is being built now. A lot of it is being signed up right now by different contractors. It’s moving along nicely. We need the wall but we need lots of other things.
We need help from Mexico. If Mexico doesn’t give the help, that’s okay, we will tariff their cars coming into the United States. The other thing is because Mexico is such a big source of drugs, unfortunately, unfortunately, now we have China sending fentanyl to Mexico to come into the United States. It’s not acceptable.
The second aspect of it is, which you haven’t heard before, is that if the drugs don’t stop –Mexico can stop them if they want– we’ll tariff the cars. The cars are very big. If that doesn’t work, we’ll close the border. I think that will work. It’s massive numbers.
If we don’t see people apprehended and brought back to their countries, if we see the massive caravans coming up to our country, right through Mexico like nothing. Buses are even given to them. The last three days it hasn’t happened since we said we’re closing the border. The only thing better, but less drastic, than closing the border is to tariff the cars coming in. I will do it. I don’t play games. I’ll do it.
We’re doing it to stop people. We’re going to give them a one-year warning and if the drugs don’t stop, or largely stop, we’ll put tariffs on Mexico and products, in particular cars. The whole ball game is cars. It’s the big ball game with many countries it’s cars. If that doesn’t stop the drugs, we close the border. Because Mexico, last year, and over for many years, just like China, except China numbers are even bigger. I don’t blame China and Mexico if they can get away with it. I blame the people that used to sit in this seat because they should have done something about it.
I’m not just talking about President Obama, I’m talking about many presidents. They should have done something about it.
So, if Mexico doesn’t do what they can do very easily, apprehend these people coming in, and they can do it in a very humane fashion. Why should they walk up 2,000 miles and then be brought back? They can stop them at their southern border, right where they come into Mexico.”