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Love It Or Hate It, Trump’s Tariff Policy Helped Stem The Tide Of Illegal Immigrants

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The Supreme Court decision Wednesday regarding asylum-seekers at the Southern border was a win for the Trump administration and will bolster the measures Mexico and the U.S. have already taken to drastically reduce migratory numbers traveling to the U.S.


Based on apprehension numbers released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Monday, those measures are clearly working and Trump’s controversial policy of threatening tariffs on Mexican goods deserves a good deal of the credit.

Wednesday’s decision — which essentially affirms that asylum seekers can be denied entry if they traveled through another country like Mexico without first attempting to seek refuge there — came after a California federal judge issued a nationwide injunction against the Trump administration policy that critics saw as specifically targeting Central American. Many of those migrants showed up in the waves of caravans that stormed the U.S. border for several months earlier in 2019.

The SCOTUS decision gives the Trump administration the legal right to turn these migrants away, but the pressure has already been drastically reduced thanks to Mexico’s reaction to the threat of tariffs issued from the Oval Office back in the Spring.

On Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection released new apprehension numbers that show a marked decrease in apprehension of illegal migrants.

'"During the month of August, CBP apprehended or deemed inadmissible a total of 64,006 people. For July, that number was 82,055. This represents a decline of approximately 22%. Moreover, the August number reflects a decline of 56% since the May peak, which was a staggering 144,255,' Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan announced."

"'President Trump negotiated with Guatemala to have migrants apply for asylum there rather than making the journey to the U.S. Thanks to President Trump’s negotiating, Mexico agreed to step up enforcement at their own borders and stop the flood of migrants from reaching the U.S. Mexico has apprehended about 134,000 people in just the past few months since the U.S. and Mexico reached the agreement. We have expanded the Migrant Protection Protocols to allow more asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases proceed. As of September 1st, CBP has returned more than 41,500 individuals to Mexico under MPP,' the White House released in response to the significant decline."


These numbers come after a deal was struck this summer wherein Mexico deployed 20,000 members of its National Guard to its northern and southern borders to help immigration officials there, installed new checkpoints on Mexican roads, and conducted raids of hotels and safe houses to rout out illegal migrants.

They agreed to implement these new measures to avoid tariffs.

This spring, President Trump threatened to place tariffs on all Mexican exports, a direct threat against the country’s new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a leftist nationalist who campaigned on standing up to Mr. Trump and who slowed deportations of Central American migrants out of Mexico in the first few months of his tenure.

To skirt the tariff threat, Mexico agreed to significantly boost its own deportations in a landmark June agreement with the U.S.—and its stepped-up efforts appear to be paying off.

“I want to again thank the country of Mexico,” Mr. Trump said in the Oval Office on Wednesday, adding that thousands of Mexican soldiers were “right now protecting our border and they’ve done a fantastic job.”

While some critics worry that Mexico’s new approach to migrants using their country as a thoroughfare might not be sustainable, Mexico has decided to implement the new policy permanently instead of just for the 90 days their agreement with the U.S. required.


While those critical of tariffs have a point that they impose a tax on consumers, the threat of tariffs — at least for the time being — has gone a long way toward solving the illegal immigration problem at the southern border.

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