US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mexican counterpart Marcelo Ebrard will meet again in 45 days in Washington to evaluate Mexico’s commitment to stemming the flow of migrants heading to its northern neighbor, the foreign minister said on Monday.
The agreement follows talks between Pompeo and Ebrard in Mexico City on Sunday, as part of the US government official’s four-nation trip to Latin America.
“We have a reduction in the migrant flow of around 36.2 percent … We’ve agreed to meet in Washington in 45 days. We’re going to keep up the efforts,” said Ebrard during President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s weekly press conference.
“We’re doing well in this matter. It was a very complicated issue, very difficult because there was the threat, let’s not forget, to unilaterally apply tariffs and taxes on Mexican products,” said Lopez Obrador.
Tensions have calmed between Washington and Mexico City since US President Donald Trump threatened stiff new trade tariffs against the United States’ southern neighbor unless it acted decisively to stem the migrant wave.
Following Sunday’s meeting, the State Department said: “Secretary Pompeo thanked Foreign Minister Ebrard for Mexico’s increased immigration enforcement efforts.”
Trump had given Mexico a 45-day grace period, which ended on Monday, to show some results.
“In yesterday’s meeting we made it clear that Mexico has taken effective decisions,” added Ebrard.
“The United States respects those decisions and the progress we’ve made.”
He said Mexico had asked the US for commitments on illegal arms trafficking from the US to Mexico.
The Mexican government in June deployed thousands of soldiers and police officers, both near its southern border with Guatemala and the US border in the north, to slow the migrant flow, which has come principally from impoverished and crime-ridden Central American countries.
Ebrard reiterated Mexico’s position that it would not accept becoming a “safe third country,” which could see it used as a dumping ground for asylum seekers rejected by the US.
Guatemala’s constitutional court last week blocked President Jimmy Morales from signing a deal with the US that would have designated the Central American nation a safe third country, obliging it to offer asylum to any migrants entering its territory on the way to the US.
The Trump administration announced a new policy last week that declares almost all migrants arriving from Mexico ineligible for asylum.