'Something pretty dramatic could happen': Trump boosts pressure on Mexico to stem flow of migrants

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  • Donald Trump is applying increasing pressure on Mexico over immigration, threatening to impose a 5 per cent tariff on all imports starting Monday and ratchet up the duties each month towards a 25 per cent target by October.
  • It has been a highly emotional and uncomfortable week for the prime minister and many others across Canada.
  • Missed The National last night? Watch it here.

U.S.-Mexico immigration

Mexican and U.S. officials are meeting again today to try to find a way to halt the northward flow of migrants from troubled Central American nations.

And Donald Trump is continuing to apply the pressure with his threat to impose a 5 per cent tariff on all Mexican imports starting Monday, and ratchet up the duties each month towards a 25 per cent target by October.

“Something pretty dramatic could happen,” the U.S. president told reporters before attending D-Day commemoration ceremonies in Normandy this morning. “We’ve told Mexico the tariffs go on. And we mean it, too.”

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency says it “arrested or encountered” 144,000 migrants along the country’s southern border in May, a 32 per cent increase from the month before. That’s the highest monthly total in 13 years.

But Trump’s ongoing efforts to paint the influx as a “border crisis”, and build support for his plan to construct a 3,145 kilometre wall between the two countries, remains a tough sell.

Here are some of the underlying numbers:

Mexico and migrants

Migrants from Central America walk on a highway in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, on Wednesday on their way towards the United States border. (Jose Torres/Reuters)

112,317 — the number of people that Mexico deported in 2018, 96 per cent of them from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

80,537 the number of arrests and deportations from Mexico since December, a 33 per cent increase over the previous six months, and a 54 per cent increase from the same period last year.

825,000 — the total number of deportations by Mexico since 2012, including 10,869 U.S. citizens who were sent home.

196 per cent — the increase in asylum applications that Mexican authorities have received over the first six months of 2019, on pace for 60,000 by the end of the year, double the 2018 figure.  

250,000 — the number of migrants that Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard claims authorities will prevent from reaching the U.S. border over the course of this year.

350 to 400 — the number of people detained yesterday by Mexican soldiers as they crossed the border from Guatemala.

8,835 — Central American migrants who have claimed asylum at the U.S border but remain in Mexico while their applications are being processed.

U.S. apprehensions

Central American migrants turn themselves in to a U.S. Border Patrol Agent after crossing from Mexico into El Paso, Texas, on May 15. (Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

404,142 — total U.S. border apprehensions for the fiscal year that ended in September 2018.

598,714arrests from the beginning of last October to the end of May 2019.

1.6 million — the record-setting number of border apprehensions in fiscal year 2000.

80,000 plus — the number of people currently being held in U.S. Border Patrol custody.

256,000 — number of U.S. deportations in 2018.


700,000 — the number of people who overstayed their U.S. visas in 2018.

1ranking of Canadians among visa abusers, with more than 100,000 scofflaws.

20,599 — the number of asylum claims received by Canadian border officials in 2018.

Border agents

4,945 agents employed by the U.S. Border Patrol in fiscal year 1995.

19,555 — agents employed by the U.S. Border Patrol last fiscal year.

Unauthorized immigrants

Migrants hold hands as they cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico at the Rio Grande river on their way to enter El Paso, Texas, on May 20. The location is in an area where migrants frequently turn themselves in and ask for asylum in the U.S. after crossing the border. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

46 — percentage of Americans who support the deportation of immigrants who are illegally in the country.

43 — percentage of Mexicans who hold the same opinion.

12.2 million — estimated number of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. in 2007.

10.7 million — the estimated number in 2016.

1.5 million — the net decrease of unauthorized Mexican immigrants in the U.S.


$347 billion — value of goods that the U.S. imported from Mexico in 2018, 13.6 per cent of all imports.  

$17 billion — additional amount that American consumers and businesses will pay with a 5 per cent tariff.

$86 billion — additional amount they will pay if the punitive duty hits 25 per cent.

Border wall

The border barrier between the U.S. on the left and Mexico, photographed from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

1,052.5 km length of existing pedestrian and vehicle barriers along the U.S. border with Mexico when Donald Trump took office.

199.5 km — length of that fencing that was to be replaced in 2018 and 2019.

53 km  — length of new border wall scheduled to be constructed this year.

$8.6 billion — amount of money that the Trump administration is seeking in the 2020 budget to fund its wall plan.

$25 billion to $40 billion — estimated cost of completing the barrier as envisioned.

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At Issue

It has been a highly emotional and uncomfortable week for the prime minister and many others across Canada, The National co-host Rosemary Barton writes.

It’s been one of those political weeks steeped in ceremony and weighty moments.

Today, the Prime Minister visited Juno beach on the 75th anniversary of D-Day. It was deeply moving to see some of those veterans — who are now, on average, about 95 — revisit the beach they invaded to help preserve the freedoms we enjoy today. The Prime Minister could not get through his speech without tears.

Justin Trudeau’s week also started with deep emotion and symbolism.

The closing ceremony of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) was full of raw moments, indigenous traditions and even a bit of hope.

It was also a really hard day for a lot of people at the ceremony and across the country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stands after being presented with the final report at the closing ceremony for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Gatineau, Que., on Monday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

There’s been much said and written on the inquiry’s finding that what happened to Indigenous women and girls amounts to “genocide.” Still more has been written about how politicians reacted to the use of the word.

We won’t do a whole legal or semantic debate on it for At Issue tonight, but it’s worth talking about why it matters and whether it’s difficult for a politician to adopt that language.

More importantly perhaps, it’s also worth asking what happens now to these 231 calls to justice. The big and small changes the inquiry believes are needed to move beyond that one word and to a better place for everyone.

It’s not an easy conversation, and as the Prime Minister himself said, it’s “uncomfortable.” Thing is, sometimes the only way to move forward is to be uncomfortable.

Andrew Coyne, Chantal Hébert and Tanya Talaga will be on your screens later tonight. See you there.

– Rosemary Barton

Note to readers

Due to the NHL Stanley Cup Final game, The National will be delayed on CBC’s main network. It will air at its usual time, 21:00 ET, on CBC’s News Network, digital and online platforms.

A few words on … 

Canada’s D-Day debts.

Quote of the moment

“We cannot say this enough: Vaccines are a safe and highly effective public health tool that can prevent this disease and end the current outbreak.”

– Alex Azar, the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, reacts to news that the country has now surpassed 1,000 measles cases in 2019, the highest number in nearly three decades.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

What The National is reading

  • Canadians kidnapped in Ghana (CBC)
  • Millions of pigs culled across Asia as swine fever spreads (Guardian)
  • “Terrible deeds”: German ex-nurse convicted of murdering 85 (CBC)
  • Last North Korea nuke test was 16 times more powerful than Hiroshima bomb (Asia Times)
  • Ultimate limit of human endurance found (BBC)
  • Days are numbered for Norway’s fur farms (Agence France Presse)
  • Shakira appears in Spanish court on tax fraud charges (El Pais)
  • Ditch the GPS, it’s ruining your brain (Washington Post)

Today in history

June 6, 2001: Canadian veterans fight for support of Juno Beach Centre

Fifty-seven years after the D-Day landings, Canadian veterans are still fighting — for some long overdue recognition. Plans to build a memorial and museum at Juno Beach have met hurdle after hurdle, including resistance for locals who don’t want to give over a summer campground to the project. Now they are having to “scratch and beg” for the money to get the $5.5 million centre built. The vets have raised $1 million, and the government of France has pledged the same. Walmart is down for $1.5 million. But Ottawa says it can only spare $250,000 from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs’ $2 billion budget.

A group of veterans say Canada’s donation to a new D-Day museum isn’t enough. 2:25

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