Channel 1 Los Angeles
Washington D.C. 6/11/19
I thought too I’d spend just a minute here talking about the agreement that was reached with the United States and Mexico on Friday of last week. Frankly, it reflects diplomacy at its finest. It shows the enduring strength, too, of the relationship between our two countries, and it’s a significant win for the American people.
The deal continues the Trump administration’s commitment – the strongest by any administration in history – to confront the tide of illegal immigration and many other problems along our southern border, including the drug trafficking issues that transit there. The President is doing precisely what he said he would do.
We agreed to a number of things, including the placement of 6,000 Mexican National Guard along the Mexican southern border. It’s the biggest effort to date that the Mexicans have committed. It’s something that we pressed for with them throughout the time of the negotiations. We will work closely with them to make sure that that is a successful effort.
Those crossing the U.S. southern border to seek asylum will be rapidly returned to Mexico where they may await their adjudication of their asylum claims. We’ve seen this before; we were able to do this to the tune of a couple of hundred people per day. We now have the capacity to do this full throttle and engage this in a way that will make a fundamental difference in the calculus for those deciding to transit Mexico to try to get into the United States. This full-blown effort under the migration protocols is a big deal and was something that we worked on very, very diligently with our Mexican counterparts over two days.
And we’ll pursue other cooperative efforts, too.
For much of last week, Foreign Secretary Ebrard and his team were excellent partners in all of this. We worked alongside them with our team here at the State Department.
I’ve seen some reporting that says that these countless hours were nothing, that they amounted to a waste of time. I can tell you that the team here at the State Department believes full-throatedly that this an important set of agreements, important set of understandings, one that we’ll continue to work on, because in the end we’ll be measured by the outcomes that we deliver with respect to stemming the flow of illegal immigration into our country.
I want to, on that note, repeat my personal gratitude to Foreign Secretary Ebrard and his team. They worked hard; they were diligent; they defended the Mexican people. I think we made both of our countries proud with this agreement. I spoke to President Trump not too long ago about this. He is grateful to everyone who made this happen, and he had a chance to speak with President Obrador about this as well.
As I mentioned, this isn’t the end of the road. We’ve got a lot of work to do to implement what we’ve agreed to, not just in the joint declaration but the approach to the region, for Central America, that we agreed to last December. And we have full confidence, as the President tweeted yesterday, that Mexico will fulfill its shared commitments.
We’ll continue to work with Mexico to discuss migration asylum issues, and if necessary, we’ll take additional measures that the Mexican government agreed to during these conversations as well.
QUESTION: Can you explain what in this agreement was different than what was discussed between Secretary Nielsen and the Mexican governments in December, the agreement that people have been talking about? And have – in addition, is there a separate agreement with the Mexican government than what was announced Friday, as the President has suggested on Twitter? And both sides have said if there’s not enough progress we’re going to come back to the table and re-evaluate. How are you measuring that? What kind of metric are you going to use? Is there a specific number or target you need them to hit?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Sure. So I was part of those conversations in Houston in December when the original migrant protocols were put in place. The scale, the effort, the commitment here is very different from what we were able to achieve back in December and frankly wouldn’t have happened. The entire team from the Mexican government that came up, they came up because the President had raised the specter of 5 percent tariffs on their products. It’s what prompted this series of conversations that took on a level of seriousness and a timed commitment that we were committed to getting done before the weekend. And so it’s a fundamentally different commitment about doing this across the entire border at scale. You see the numbers in the several thousand per day. Those are the folks that will now be subject to the migrant protocols and will be, when appropriately adjudicated, returned to Mexico to await their asylum hearings inside of Mexico.
As for other agreements, there were a number of commitments made. I can’t go into them in detail here, but each side was committed to a set of outcomes. The United States retained its ability to use its own determination of whether there was success along the border. You saw that the announcement was that the President would indefinitely suspend the tariffs. That means if it’s the case that we’re not making sufficient progress that there’s risk that those tariffs will go back in place. And as we had these conversations with my foreign secretary – my counterpart Marcelo, we both understood that. It means that we’re got hard work to do over the coming days and weeks to deliver on those actual outcomes on the ground along our southern border. I know the Mexican government is committed to it, and I know that not only the State Department but DHS and all the others who have real responsibility that will deliver this. I’m confident that this hard work will go to get – go – we will go hand-in-hand to make this deliverable something that we can all say yeah, this resulted from what we did last week.