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Published: Sunday, June 02, 2019 @ 8:58 PM
— Before leaving on a trip to Europe, President Donald Trump this weekend made clear he is more than ready to impose new tariffs on imported goods from Mexico as part of an effort to force the Mexican government to crack down immigrants trying to make it across the U.S. southern border, as Mr. Trump again demanded that Democrats in Congress accept tougher laws to deal with a recent migrant surge.
"What are they thinking as our Country is invaded by so many people (illegals) and things (Drugs) that we do not want," the President tweeted about Democrats and immigration, accusing them of resisting his plans for major changes in immigration policy and laws.
As for Mexico, the President said his tariff threat - which would go into effect on June 10 - is meant to force both the Mexican government to do more on immigration, and to bring back businesses and production into the United States.
"People have been saying for years that we should talk to Mexico," the President tweeted. "The problem is that Mexico is an “abuser” of the United States, taking but never giving."
Top Trump Administration officials echoed the President's call for action by the Mexican government.
"We need Mexico to step up and do more,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said on CNN's 'State of the Union' on Sunday.
“We need Mexico to step up and do more,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan says as President Trump threatens tariffs on Mexico.— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) June 2, 2019
“We need them at the table looking at new strategies that we can aggressively move out on.” https://t.co/JMNlJx2K82 #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/KI4npG12We
As for the threat of tariffs against Mexico - which would start at 5 percent on goods imported into the United States, and get to 25 percent by October - President Trump continues to find himself at odds with the business community.
On Twitter, Mr. Trump said, 'the word TARIFF is a beautiful word indeed!" - but business groups and some Republicans said the idea was counterproductive, and could harm the U.S. economy.
"Forcing Americans to pay more for produce, electronics, auto parts and clothes isn't the answer to the nation's immigration challenges," the National Retail Federation said in a statement.
"Once again, American consumers find themselves in the crossfire of a trade war they never asked for and didn’t start," the group Tariffs Hurt the Heartland said.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was more blunt, labeling the President's plan for escalating tariffs on Mexico, "exactly the wrong move."
Trade groups said a 5 percent tariff would cost consumers $17 billion in higher prices on Mexican goods, rising to $86 billion for a 25 percent tariff.
The Chamber said the states which would be hit the hardest are those with the largest amounts of trade with Mexico - Texas, Michigan, California, Illinois, Ohio, Arizona, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia are the top ten in that category.
But while the Chamber, the President, and many others have called for Congress to reach a deal on immigration, there is scant evidence of any action along those lines on Capitol Hill.
Democrats in the House this week will put forward a bill to help protect illegal immigrant "Dreamers" from being deported by the Trump Administration - a debate which is certain to spark heated opposition from Republicans who want to address some of the changes requested by President Trump.
"The crisis along the southern border continues to grow," said Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI). "We need legislative solutions that secure our borders and fix our broken immigration system."
So far, Senate Republicans have not put forward any legislative plans; it's unclear whether a bill to change immigration laws will be brought forward during the four week session in June by the GOP.
President Trump has asked for several billion dollars in emergency funding to deal with the surge of immigrants along the border; how that is dealt with by July Fourth remains unclear as well.