"He's absolutely deadly serious." This was the answer of Mick Mulvaney, acting chief of staff for the Trump White House, when he was asked on June 2, how serious President Trump was regarding his threat to impose tariffs on Mexico for refusing to slow or stop the flow of illegal immigrants from their side of the border.
"In fact, I fully expect these tariffs to go on to at least a 5 percent level on June 10. The president is deadly serious about fixing the situation on the southern border," Mulvaney said.
The southern border has been the subject of much debate over the past several years and recently has been described as being in a crisis. Caitlin Dickerson, of the New York Times, reported on March 5 that there were more than 76,000 illegal border crossings in February this year. Many on the left like to deny the fact that there's a crisis on the southern border. Yet the spike in illegal border crossings marks an 11-year high in illegal entries to the U.S. With this many border crossings, it is no wonder the system is at a breaking point and tensions are running high.
Democrats are blocking efforts to increase funding for border security, and they put thousands of migrant families in a precarious situation. These new arrivals are facing the housing crisis in holding facilities where illegal migrants are held until they can be processed. Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw responded to a tweet by Bernie Sanders on May 31, stating, "Maybe you could start by supporting POTUS' request for $4.5B in humanitarian aid, to include more facilities? Maybe you could support @LindseyGrahamSC bill to reform Asylum process? Maybe you won't support actual solutions because you prefer to virtue signal about the crisis?"
The immigration debate has once again spilled over the border and Trump promises to increase tariffs incrementally each month starting at the 5 percent mark in June through the 25 percent mark. While responding to questions by Chris Wallace, of FOX News, Mulvaney expounded on what Mexico could do to alleviate the proposed tariffs: "They can secure their southern border...which is approximately a quarter as long as the border with the United States, they can secure that border. They can go after their domestic terrorist organizations, their criminal organizations that are in the business of moving people across Mexico. And lastly they can make Mexico a safe place for these people to claim asylum. Keep in mind that, at any one time, there's up to a 1000,000 migrants, in Mexico, making their way up to United States. Regarding the measure, we intentionally left the Declaration sort of ad hoc so we can work with the Mexicans to make sure that things did get better, so there's no specific target, there's no specific percentage. But, things have to get better, they have to get dramatically better, and have to get better quickly."
Trump has sent dignitaries to Mexico to facilitate this agreement, demonstrating his willingness to come to a reasonable solution with our southern neighbors. The ball is truly now in Mexico's court and they have every opportunity to help make claiming asylum into the U.S. a safer and quicker process for everyone who lives in or passes through their country.
Justin Kennedy is chair of the Cherokee County Young Republicans.