MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico will propose the United States redirect security funding under the so-called “Merida Initiative” to boosting development of the Mexican southern border in talks aimed at resolving a dispute over migration, officials said on Wednesday.
Mexico’s negotiating position at joint talks later on Wednesday remains not to accept “safe third country” status, which would require Central American asylum claimants to seek refuge in Mexico instead of the United States, said two Mexican government sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Frustrated by lack of progress on a signature issue from his 2016 election campaign, U.S. President Donald Trump told Mexico last week to take a tougher line on containing illegal immigration or from Monday face 5% tariffs on all its exports to the United States, rising to as much as 25% later in the year.
To defuse the threat, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard is expected to try to show the White House at the talks that Mexico is taking steps to stem the flow of people, detaining double the number each day than it was a year ago.
Reporting by Dave Graham, Anthony Esposito and Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Lisa Shumaker