Ivan Pentchoukov, Epoch Times, July 28, 2019
Shortly after overseeing the signing of a “safe third country” asylum agreement with Guatemala at the Oval Office on July 26, President Donald Trump told reporters that he expects to soon sign similar deals with Honduras and El Salvador.
Prior to the pact with Guatemala, Trump had already secured help from Mexico to tackle the migration crisis. In both cases, the president used the threat of tariffs to compel the two nations to cooperate, suggesting that the option of a tariff threat is on the table in dealing with Honduras and El Salvador as well.
Asked later if he expected to reach similar agreements with Honduras and El Salvador, Trump replied, “I do indeed.”
As a result, cooperation from the four nations is crucial to stemming the flow of migrants to the U.S. southern border, especially at a time when Democrats in Congress continue to refuse to work with the Trump administration on legislation to patch up the loopholes in the U.S. immigration system. The president said the deals with Honduras and El Salvador may come “pretty soon,” suggesting that his international diplomacy may end up addressing a crisis largely perceived as a domestic issue under the purview of Congress.
The Trump administration also recently expanded the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) policy to cover the entire length of the border. Under the MPP, which requires cooperation from Mexico, some migrants who seek to enter the United States are sent back to Mexico to await the resolution of their cases.
Mexico’s government said July 27 it would help Honduras create 20,000 jobs this year and support its coffee farmers, as the two countries seek to curb migration to the United States. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his Honduran counterpart, Juan Orlando Hernández, pledged to work together to lift prosperity in Central America, where poverty and violence have fueled the northward exodus of people.
Similar to Guatemala, Mexico sealed the cooperation deal with the United States after Trump threatened to impose increasingly crippling tariffs on Mexican goods. Earlier in his presidency, Trump imposed tariffs on some of America’s biggest allies and adversaries, despite opposition at home and abroad. These measures against China, Canada, and the European Union are now a factor for any leader contemplating whether Trump is bluffing when he threatens to impose tariffs.