Trump Signs Anemic New Immigration Deal With Mexico

The Trump administration has concluded an immigration agreement with Mexico that ends Trump’s threats to levy tariffs on all Mexican goods entering the United States. There are two provisions:

Unless I’m missing something, there’s not much here. The first point is something that Mexico says it’s already been doing for months. American officials initially dismissed it as little more than hot air, but now it’s the heart of the agreement. What changed?

As for the Migrant Protection Protocols, which allow border authorities to return asylum seekers to Mexico while they await a court hearing, they were implemented last December in San Diego, with plans to roll them out across the border over time. So is there anything new here, aside from the fact that Mexico is accepting the program formally, rather than pretending to oppose it while quietly cooperating? I can’t tell. It’s possible that “entire Southern Border” literally means the entire border, not just ports of entry, which I think would be new. But that’s not clear. In any case, this is an American program that Mexico has already tacitly accepted, not anything new that Mexico is doing to rein in the flood of asylum seekers from Guatemala and other countries.

In brief, then: Mexico has agreed to (a) maintain some vaguely defined law enforcement actions and (b) formally accept an American program that they were already cooperating with quietly. That’s it. But it was enough to buy off Trump. He’s a cheap date, I guess.

But Trump doesn’t really care about results anyway. He’ll take to Twitter and describe this agreement as the strongest immigration program ever implemented in history, and the Fox News megaphone will eagerly spread that message to his fans. He only cares that people think he’s the toughest president ever, and I suppose this gets the job done.

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