Rafael Bernal and Jordan Fabian report:
'President Trump on Thursday announced new tariffs on Mexico in an effort to pressure the country to halt the flow of migrants from Central America, a dramatic escalation of his hard-line border policy that could jeopardize a pending trade deal with Canada and Mexico.
Trump said in a pair of tweets that the U.S. will impose a 5 percent tariff beginning June 10 on all Mexican imports “until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,” a goal that has never been achieved in recent history.
The tariff will increase by 5 percent each month until it reaches 25 percent “unless and until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory,” the president said in an unusual, 1,004-word follow-up statement distributed by the White House.
Trump teased the announcement earlier Thursday, saying he would be making a “big league statement” that would include a “very dramatic” move regarding the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump last month threatened to slap tariffs on Mexico or close the border, but described his threat as a “one-year warning.”
The Trump administration has struggled to stem the tide of illegal migration, as crossings by migrants seeking asylum have approached levels not seen in more than a decade. More than 1,000 migrants were apprehended near a border crossing in El Paso, Texas on Wednesday in the largest single round-up on record, according to NBC News.