U.S. judge blocks Trump’s latest sweeping asylum rule

Migrants wait to apply for asylum in the United States outside the El Chaparral border, in Tijuana, Mexico July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

By Daniel Trotta and Kristina Cooke

(Reuters) – A federal judge in San Francisco on Wednesday blocked the Trump administration from enforcing a new rule that aimed to bar almost all asylum applications at the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction blocking the rule, which would require asylum-seekers to first pursue safe haven in a third country they had traveled through on their way to the United States.

The decision makes inconsequential a ruling by Washington D.C. District Judge Timothy Kelly earlier in the day that declined to block the rule in a different lawsuit brought by immigration advocacy groups, lawyers said.

The Trump administration had been quick to celebrate that decision, saying it would discourage abuse of the asylum process.

Following the action by the San Francisco court, the rule will now be suspended pending further proceedings.

“Today’s ruling is an important victory for incredibly vulnerable individuals and families,” said Melissa Crow, an attorney from the Southern Poverty Law Center – one of the groups challenging the ban – in a statement.

The Trump administration has sought to curtail the increasing numbers of mostly Central American migrants arriving at the U.S. -Mexico border after fleeing violence and poverty in countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. It has characterized the vast majority of their asylum claims as bogus.

After the White House announced the rule on July 15, the American Civil Liberties Union and other rights groups sued in California on the grounds it violates U.S. law that welcomes those who come to the United States fleeing persecution at home.

Immigration is shaping up to be a focus of the presidential campaign again in 2020. In the 2016 election, voters rewarded then-candidate Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, sending him to the White House after he promised to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

DANGERS IN MEXICO

Opponents of the new rule contend the United States cannot force migrants to first apply for asylum in another country, such as Mexico or Guatemala, unless Washington first has a “safe third country” agreement with that government. Both Mexico and Guatemala have resisted Trump administration efforts to reach such a deal.

In an hour-long hearing in California, Tigar said he was struck by the dangers faced by people passing through Mexico, which was significant because the Trump administration argued that country was a safe haven.

“The administrative record about the dangers faced by persons transiting through Mexico and the inadequacy of the asylum system there … is stunning,” Tigar said from the bench.

Tigar in November struck down a different asylum ban that attempted to block all migrants crossing illegally from asking for refuge in the United States.

The Trump administration has issued a rapid-fire series of anti-immigration edicts recently.

Last week, the administration issued another rule to expedite deportations for immigrants who have crossed illegally within the last two years and are caught anywhere in the United States. The rule eliminated a level of judicial review and expanded a program typically applied only along the southern border with Mexico.

Democrats have blasted the policies as cruel, faulting the Trump administration for warehousing migrants in crowded detention facilities along the border and separating immigrant children from the adults they have traveled with.

(This story corrects date rule was announced to July 15 in paragraph 8).

(Reporting by Kristina Cooke in San Francisco, Mica Rosenberg and Daniel Trotta in New York, and Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Sonya Hepinstall)

U.S. to ramp up rapid deportations with sweeping new rule

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection vehicle parks near the border fence between Mexico and U.S. as seen from Tijuana, Mexico July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

By Tom Hals

(Reuters) – The Trump administration said on Monday it will expand and speed up deportations of migrants who enter the United States illegally by stripping away court oversight, enabling officials to remove people in days rather than months or years.

Set to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, the rule will apply “expedited removal” to the majority of those who enter the United States illegally unless they can prove they have been living in the country for at least two years.

Legal experts said it was a dramatic expansion of a program already used along the U.S.-Mexican border that cuts out review by an immigration judge, usually without access to an attorney. Both are available in regular proceedings.

“The Trump administration is moving forward into converting ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) into a ‘show me your papers’ militia,” said Vanita Gupta, the president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, on a call with reporters.

It was likely the policy would be blocked quickly by a court, several experts said. The American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed suit to block numerous Trump immigration policies in court, has vowed to sue.

President Donald Trump has struggled to stem an increase of mostly Central American families arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, leading to overcrowded detention facilities and a political battle over a growing humanitarian crisis.

The government said increasing rapid deportations would free up detention space and ease strains on immigration courts, which face a backlog of more than 900,000 cases.

Nearly 300,000 of the approximately 11 million immigrants in the United States illegally could be quickly deported under the new rule, according to the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said 37%, or 20,570, of those encountered by ICE in the year to September, had been in the country less than two years.

People in rapid deportation proceedings are detained for 11.4 days on average, according to DHS. People in regular proceedings are held for 51.5 days and are released into the United States for the months or years it takes to resolve their cases.

Legal experts said the rule shreds basic due process and could create havoc beyond immigrant communities.

“ICE has been detaining and deporting U.S. citizens for decades,” said Jackie Stevens, a political science professor at Northwestern University. That policy came at a great cost to U.S. taxpayers in terms of litigation and compensation, she added.

    ICE in 2003 became a successor agency to Immigration and Naturalization Services.

U.S. citizens account for about 1% of those detained by ICE and about 0.5% of those deported, according to Stevens’ research.

“Expedited removal orders are going to make this much worse,” she said.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco in March ruled that those ordered deported in the sped-up process have a right to take their case to a judge.

Previously, only those immigrants caught within 100 miles of the border who had been in the country two weeks or less could be ordered rapidly deported. The policy makes an exception for immigrants who can establish a “credible fear” of persecution in their home country.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware and Mica Rosenberg in New York; Editing by Richard Chang and Rosalba O’Brien)

Trump administration sets ‘new bar’ for immigrants seeking asylum

Migrants cross the Rio Bravo to enter illegally into the United States, to turn themselves in to request asylum, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico July 12, 2019. REUTERS/Daniel Becerr

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration on Monday said it would take steps to make it more difficult for immigrants arriving on the southern border to seek asylum in the United States, putting the onus on them to ask for shelter in other countries.

The Department of Homeland Security, in a statement issued with the Department of Justice, said the interim rule would set a “new bar” for immigrants “by placing further restrictions or limitations on eligibility for aliens who seek asylum in the United States.”

The proposal would make it tougher for applicants who did not apply for protection from persecution or torture where it was available in at least one “third country” through which they traveled en route to the United States.

The Trump administration wants to slow down a flow of asylum seekers arriving at the U.S.-Mexican border. Most are Central Americans who have traveled through Mexico and Guatemala on the way to the border, though some come from as far as Africa.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said the initiative would “help reduce a major ‘pull’ factor driving irregular migration to the United States.”

U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in the statement that while the “United States is a generous country,” it was being “completely overwhelmed” by the hundreds of thousands of “aliens along the southern border.” Many of them, he said, are seeking “meritless asylum claims.”

The measure is intended to take effect with the rule’s publication on Tuesday, according to the statement.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan and Susan Heavey; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Rosalba O’Brien)

U.S. holding 200 children at border, down from 2,500 in May

A teacher uses the Pledge of Allegiance in a reading class the U.S. government's newest holding center for migrant children in Carrizo Springs, Texas, U.S. July 9, 2019. Picture taken July 9, 2019. Eric Gay/Pool via REUTERS

By Daniel Trotta

(Reuters) – U.S. immigration authorities held about 200 unaccompanied children at locations along the southwest border as of Wednesday, down from more than 2,500 in May as funding increases enabled a U.S. health agency to take custody of them.The reduction in detainees as reported by a senior U.S. Customs and Border Protection official follows a pair of recent internal government inspections that revealed overcrowding and filthy conditions for immigrants that inflamed the debate about President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policy.

Staff oversee breakfast at the U.S. government's government's newest holding center for migrant children in Carrizo Springs, Texas, U.S. July 9, 2019. Picture taken July 9, 2019. Eric Gay/Pool via REUTERS

Staff oversee breakfast at the U.S. government’s government’s newest holding center for migrant children in Carrizo Springs, Texas, U.S. July 9, 2019. Picture taken July 9, 2019. Eric Gay/Pool via REUTERS

Almost all detained unaccompanied children picked up by border officers are being turned over to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials within 72 hours of apprehension, the official told reporters on a conference call, speaking on the condition he not be named.

Criticism mounted after government inspectors and immigration lawyers found evidence children were being held long past legal limits at border facilities not equipped to house them.

Increasing numbers of mostly Central American families and children traveling alone – many seeking asylum in the United States – have overwhelmed authorities at a time when the Trump administration is pushing to limit legal and illegal immigration.

From late May to early June, the United States held about 2,500 to 2,700 children who were detained after crossing the border by themselves or who were separated from adults who were not their parents, the official said.

“To see these numbers currently at about 200 is very positive. That’s a huge difference since HHS has received their funding,” the official said. “Our goal is to get these individuals out of our custody as quickly as possible to HHS so they can have all the proper care and the long-term needs met for them.”

The U.S. Congress in June approved a $4.5 billion emergency supplemental funding bill aimed at improving conditions at the border, including $2.88 billion for HHS to provide shelter and care for unaccompanied children.

A legal settlement and anti-trafficking laws mandate that unaccompanied children traveling without a parent or legal guardian must be transferred to specialized facilities run by HHS. From there they are often released to sponsors in the United States as they pursue their immigration cases in court.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Trump says immigration roundup will start next week

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he departs the White House on travel to Orlando, Florida from the White House in Washington, U.S., June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump repeated on Tuesday that immigration authorities would next week target migrants in the country illegally in large-scale arrests, but still gave no details about the planned action.

“They’re going to start next week, and with people coming to our country, and they come in illegally – they have to go out,” he told reporters at the White House before a trip to Florida where he will formally launch his re-election campaign. Trump also praised Mexico for action he said it has taken to stem the flow of immigrants to the United States.

Former officials and immigration experts said it would be unlikely for immigration authorities to move quickly to deport “millions” of people, but Trump’s tweet on Monday saying as much put cities around the country on high alert.

Trump has made illegal immigration a centerpiece of his administration and is likely to highlight it in his campaign for the 2020 election, but so far he has not brought arrests and deportations up to levels seen in President Barack Obama’s first term as resources are stretched by an influx of migrants at the Mexico border. Trump is fighting the battle on two fronts, trying to stop migrants from coming in the first place and deporting those who have been released into the United States.

In March, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said arrests of immigrants in the interior of the United States dropped in the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year, which began last October.

New York City’s commissioner of immigrant affairs, Bitta Mostofi, said Trump’s comments are  “part and parcel of an agenda that is seeking to instill fear in immigrant communities that is hurting our ability to advance our city’s interests.” Mostofi said New York has increased resources for immigrant legal defense programs to respond to increased enforcement actions.

ICE said on Tuesday that it will continue to conduct “routine targeted enforcement operations” and referred questions about Trump’s tweets to the White House.

Any increase in ICE arrests would require additional detention space for those arrested and processed before deportation.

As of June 8, ICE had almost 53,141 people in adult detention centers, much higher than the levels for which it is funded by Congress, which would put logistical brakes on the possible scale of any operation.

ICE’s dedicated family detention centers are currently operating below capacity, however, with a population of 1,662 as of June 17.

Mexico has pledged to do more on illegal immigration, in order to stave of threatened U.S. tariffs on its goods.

“Mexico has been doing a very good job the last four days. … I appreciate the job they’re doing,” Trump said.

“Guatemala, likewise is much different than it was under past administrations, so we’ll see how that works out,” he said.

Vice President Mike Pence suggested last week that Guatemala could receive asylum seekers from its neighbors as a safe third country agreement, which might force asylum seekers from other Central American countries to seek refuge there before applying in the United States.

Guatemala’s interior minister, Enrique Degenhart, on Tuesday said there was no such agreement yet.

“We have not said we accept being a safe third country. … We’re in discussions to find a measure that suits both countries,” Degenhart told reporters, saying he welcomed that the United States saw Guatemala as a “safe country.”

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Mexico says no unlimited asylum, Trump confirms safe third country plan

Asylum seekers pass the time in a makeshift tent camp near the Brownsville-Matamoros International Bridge where they wait in hopes of soon being granted entry into the U.S. in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, May 17, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott - RC1B49E881D0

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico has not accepted that the United States send it an unlimited number of asylum seekers, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said, ahead of meetings with U.S. officials on Friday to determine the expansion of a controversial program.

Under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump, Mexico agreed last week to expand the program, which forces mostly Central American asylum seekers to return to Mexico to await the outcome of their U.S. asylum claims.

Ebrard said officials would discuss which cities the program, known as Remain in Mexico, would expand to, as well as how to measure the number of people and which nationalities Mexico would accept.

Currently the program operates in Tijuana, Mexicali and Ciudad Juarez. Close to 12,000 people have been returned to Mexico since January.

In the deal reached a week ago, Mexico also agreed to a plan that could make it a “safe third country” in which asylum seekers would have to seek refuge instead of in the United States, if Mexico does not bring down immigration flows within 45 days through enforcement measures.

Trump on Friday confirmed that the deal struck in return for not imposing threatened tariffs on Mexico included a plan for safe third country.

Asked in a Fox News interview if the plan included the option if Mexico cannot stem the flow of Central American migrants headed for the United States, Trump said “It’s exactly right, and that’s what’s going to happen.”

(Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel in Mexico City and Makini Brice and Susan Heavey in Washington; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Susan Thomas)

Trump promises more ‘to be revealed’ in U.S.-Mexico deal

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters upon departure from the White House in Washington, U.S., May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday stood by his comments that part of the migrant deal with Mexico announced over the weekend had yet to be made public, even after Mexican officials unveiled new details of the agreement.

“Biggest part of deal with Mexico has not yet been revealed!” Trump tweeted without giving further details. Representatives for the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s statement.

On Monday, Trump also said Mexico would soon disclose part of the agreement with no details other than saying that portion would have to be taken up by the Mexican Congress.

Announcing previously undisclosed details of Friday’s deal, Mexican officials said on Monday they had 45 days to show that increased enforcement efforts were effective in reducing flows of migrants. If not, they would have to talk with the United States about additional measures.

The United States wants Mexico to be declared a safe third country in which asylum seekers would have to seek safe harbor instead of the United States, a demand Mexico had long rejected.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard dropped his previous opposition to that idea in comments on Monday but said any such arrangement should share the asylum load with other Latin American countries.

He said these measures would have to be taken up with the Mexican Senate.

“If we don’t have results on what we’re doing (in 45 days), we’ll start conversations on what they want,” Ebrard said.

The deal struck on Friday averted import tariffs on all Mexican goods, which Trump had vowed to impose unless Mexico did more to curb migration.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Andrea Ricci)

Mexico to ramp up southern border infrastructure to tackle migration

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard speaks during a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico June 10, 2019. REUTERS/Gustavo Graf

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico must significantly improve border infrastructure on its southern frontier with Guatemala to make a success of a deal struck last week with the United States to reduce migration, Mexico’s foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a regular government news conference, Ebrard said not enough priority had been given to Mexico’s southern border in the past and that the state needs to have a stronger presence across the frontier to deal with migrant flows.

Mexico and the United States signed an agreement on Friday, with Mexico agreeing to take steps to control the flow of people from Central America, including deploying 6,000 members of a new national guard across its border with Guatemala.

The deal averted escalating import tariffs of 5% on Mexican goods, which U.S. President Donald Trump had vowed to impose unless Mexico did more to curb migration.

Still, Mexico’s government said on Monday it had 45 days to show its measures were yielding results.

Taking questions alongside President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Ebrard said Mexico was accelerating deployment of the national guard along the border with Guatemala and that migrants entering Mexico would all have to register with authorities.

To meet its commitments to Washington, Mexican migration facilities in the south need to be revamped, Ebrard added.

“There must be a different presence of the Mexican state in the south,” he told reporters, noting that the infrastructure along the southern frontier with Guatemala had for years been neglected while Mexico’s northern border was being modernized.

“You go to the south and the first thing you ask yourself is ‘right, where’s the border?’ There’s nothing. The idea is to make the south like the north as far as possible.”

Ebrard said there would need to be provisional installations built before rolling out a broader plan to cope with the flow of migrants arriving from Central America. “Because the reality is that a very big effort needs to be made,” he said.

(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Hugh Bronstein and Susan Thomas)

Mexico Immigration deal reached, Trump says must be approved or tariffs

Central American migrants cross the Suchiate river on a raft from Tecun Uman, in Guatemala, to Ciudad Hidalgo, as seen from Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, June 10, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

By Makini Brice

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Monday hinted more details were to come about a migration pact the United States signed with Mexico last week, saying another portion of the deal with Mexico would need to be ratified by Mexican lawmakers.

He did not provide details but threatened tariffs if Mexico’s Congress did not approve the plan.

“We have fully signed and documented another very important part of the Immigration and Security deal with Mexico, one that the U.S. has been asking about getting for many years. It will be revealed in the not too distant future and will need a vote by Mexico’s legislative body,” Trump tweeted.

“We do not anticipate a problem with the vote but, if for any reason the approval is not forthcoming, tariffs will be reinstated.”

Last month, Trump threatened 5% tariffs on Mexican goods to be imposed on Monday. The duties would have increased every month until they reached 25% in October, unless Mexico stopped illegal immigration across its border with Mexico.

On Friday, the tariffs were called off, after the United States and Mexico announced an agreement on immigration. The joint communique issued by the two countries provided few details.

Critics have said there have been no new major commitments to slow the migration of Central Americans to the United States.

FILE PHOTO: Trucks cross the borderline into the U.S. and into Mexico at the World Trade Bridge, as seen from Laredo, Texas U.S., June 3, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

FILE PHOTO: Trucks cross the borderline into the U.S. and into Mexico at the World Trade Bridge, as seen from Laredo, Texas U.S., June 3, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

The agreement would expedite a program known as the Migration Protection Protocols, which sends people seeking asylum in the United States to wait in Mexico as their cases are processed.

That program, announced in December, would be expanded across the entire U.S.-Mexico border under the terms of the agreement, according to the State Department.

The deal would also send the Mexican National Guard police force to its own southern border, where many Central Americans enter Mexico.

“We’re very pleased with this agreement. It has an enforcement mechanism. It has an enforcement feature to it because these tariffs can go on at any time,” White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said in an interview with Fox News Channel.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard wrote in a tweet on Monday morning that he would brief the Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on the details of the agreement.

Ebrard said Lopez Obrador would discuss the deal during his morning news conference.

Marta Barcena Coqui, the Mexican ambassador to the United States, said in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that Mexican officials had agreed to take steps to reduce illegal immigration “to previous levels that we had maybe last year or in 2018.”

During the talks last week, Mexican sources said officials were resisting safe third country status, which would mean migrants seeking asylum would have to make such a request in the first safe country they crossed.

Under such safe third country status, that country for many Central American migrants fleeing poverty, violence and corruption in their native countries would be Mexico.

Such a change would require legal changes that would take at least 90 days and would need to be ratified by Mexico’s Congress.

(Reporting by Makini Brice; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington and Frank Jack Daniel in Mexico City; Editing by Larry King and Chizu Nomiyama)

U.S.-Mexico migration talks continue as tariff deadline looms

Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard exits the U.S. State Department to speak to reporters after a meeting between U.S. and Mexican officials on immigration and trade in Washington, U.S., June 6, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

By Susan Heavey and Anthony Esposito

WASHINGTON/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – U.S. and Mexican negotiators resumed migration talks on Friday as the two sides edged closer to a trade war that could hobble both countries’ economies and rattle investors already nervous about Washington’s escalating battle with China.

U.S. President Donald Trump has warned that tariffs of 5% will be imposed on all Mexican exports to the United States on Monday if Mexico does not step up efforts to stem an increase in mostly Central American migrants heading for the U.S. border.

“As negotiations continued yesterday, we were more encouraged that they came forward with some of the things we put on the table Wednesday to say they were open to that,” Marc Short, chief of staff to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, told reporters outside the White House.

Short added that the Trump administration planned to move forward with a legal notification of its planned 5% tariff on Mexican goods. “You should anticipate that happening today,” he said.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said while the meetings had gone well, “we’re still on track for tariffs on Monday.”

Trump, who has railed against what he describes as a surge of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border, will have the final say over any deal, Pence said on Thursday. Pence also said progress had been made in the talks but gave no specifics.

Trump is returning to Washington on Friday after a week-long trip to Europe.

The U.S. president has threatened to continue raising the tariffs on Mexico after the initial levies go into effect on June. 10 if a migration deal fails to materialize.

Mexico, whose economy is heavily dependent on trade with the United States, is scrambling to avoid such a scenario.

“It’s a good sign that talks have not broken down,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters in Mexico City. “There is dialogue and an agreement can be reached. I’m optimistic we can achieve that.”

Lopez Obrador, however, said it was a mistake for the United States to link migration with trade.

Mexico has prepared a list of possible retaliatory tariffs targeting U.S. products from agricultural and industrial states regarded as Trump’s electoral base, a tactic China has also used with an eye toward the president’s 2020 re-election bid.

That would put the United States in a serious trade dispute with its southern neighbor and China – two of its three top trading partners.

The United States slapped up to 25% tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports last month, prompting Beijing to levy its own tariffs on a revised target list of $60 billion in American goods.

Trump said on Thursday he would decide later this month whether to carry out his threat to hit Beijing with tariffs on at least $300 billion in Chinese goods.

U.S. officials officially granted Chinese exporters two more weeks to get their products into the United States before increasing tariffs on those items, according to a U.S. government notice posted online on Friday.

OPPOSITION

U.S. business groups are generally opposed to the escalation of the trade tensions, warning that the tariffs will raise costs for companies and lead to higher prices for American consumers. Trump’s fellow Republicans also are not keen on the tariffs.

Economists warn that the trade wars could damage key supply lines and lead to a further slowdown of the global economy. Even the United States, one of the more solid performers on the economic stage, would suffer.

The U.S. Labor Department reported on Friday that job growth slowed sharply in May and wages rose less than expected, raising fears that a loss of momentum in economic activity could be spreading to the labor market.

Global equities rose on Friday on the prospect that central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, would loosen monetary policy to offset trade frictions and the threat of global recession.

Analysts warn that tariffs could spark a recession in Mexico. Credit ratings agency Fitch downgraded Mexico’s sovereign debt rating on Wednesday, citing trade tensions among other risks, while Moody’s lowered its outlook to negative.

Ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Trump is eager to show progress on his 2016 campaign pledges to take a hard line on immigration. Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border hit a decade high in May.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu in Washington, Anthony Esposito in Mexico City and Steve Holland in Shannon, Ireland; Writing by Paul Simao; Editing by Susan Thomas)