MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray said on Wednesday, ahead of talks with senior officials from the United States, that his country would not accept immigration provisions that are unilaterally imposed by its northern neighbor.
Videgaray made those remarks after President Donald Trump’s administration on Tuesday announced major changes to US immigration enforcement earlier this week.
“I want to state as clearly and emphatically as possible that the Mexican government and the Mexican people do not have to accept provisions that one government may wish to impose on another,” Videgaray said during a meeting in Mexico City with the Mexico representative for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“We’re not going to accept that because there’s no reason for us to do so and because it’s not in Mexico’s interest,” he added.
Under the Trump administration’s new guidelines, virtually all of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US could be targeted for deportation; immigration officials, however, will still prioritize the individuals they target, with serious criminals at the top of the list.
Illegal immigrants also could be immediately deported from anywhere in the country provided they have not been in the US for more than two years.
Furthermore, according to one provision of a Department of Homeland Security directive, migrants who entered the US by crossing the US-Mexico border could be sent back to Mexico even if they are citizens of other countries.
The previous administration’s expedited deportation policy only applied to migrants who had been in the country for 14 days or less and were tracked down within 100 miles of the border.
In practice, only undocumented migrants from Mexico were immediately deported, while Central Americans – many of whom seek asylum – stayed in the US pending resolution of their cases.
Trump’s immigration crackdown will also include adding 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 10,000 immigration enforcement officers, as well as construction of a wall spanning the entire US-Mexico border.
Videgaray said Mexico’s government would do all it could to ensure protection for its people’s human rights abroad, including by bringing complaints before the UN.
The immigration issue will be front and center when Videgaray meets this week with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who arrived in Mexico City on Wednesday.