Foreign minister: Mexico ‘will not accept’ unilateral US immigration proposals – USA TODAY
Mexican Foreign Minister Luis VidegarayÂ said Wednesday that Mexico “will not accept” the imposition of new U.S. immigration rules, according to media reports.
The foreign minister also said he would not hesitate to take the issue to theÂ United NationsÂ to defend what he called the rights of immigrants, Reuters reported.
His comments followed the release of new directives by the Department of Homeland Security aimed at increasingÂ deportationsÂ among the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Under the new guidelines, all federal immigration officers can now conduct an “expedited removal” anywhere in the U.S. against people who arrived in the U.S. in the previous two years.
One critical part of the new directives, which wouldÂ require Mexican cooperation,Â says federalÂ immigration officials can send those undocumented immigrantsÂ back to Mexico, even if they’re not from there.
Many undocumented immigrants in recent years have come from Central America and traveled through Mexico to reach the U.S. border.
VidegarayÂ said the new U.S. plans would be the main focus of talks in Mexico Wednesday and Thursday with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
âI want to make it clear in the most emphatic way that the government of Mexico and the people of Mexico do not have to accept provisions that one government wants to unilaterally impose on another,â Videgaray said, according to Univision.Â âWe will not accept that because we have no reason to;Â it is not in the interest of the Mexico.â
The immigration issue has caused increasing strainÂ between Mexico and the U.S., particularly overÂ President Trump’s pledgeÂ to build a border wall and makeÂ Mexico pay for it. The fallout over the issueÂ led Mexican President Enrique PeÃ±a NietoÂ to cancel aÂ trip to the U.S. recently.
In Washington, White House spokesman Sean Spicer was asked Wednesday whether Tillerson and Kelly were on a cleanup mission with Mexico.
âI would argue that we have a very healthy and robust relationship with the Mexican government and Mexican officials,” Spicer said. “I think they would echo that same sentiment. I think the relationship with Mexico is phenomenal right now. I believe thereâs an unbelievable and robust dialogue between our two nations.â
Under the Obama administration, a process known as an “expedited removal” was used mostly along the southwest border. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrols agents were able to quickly deport undocumented immigrants caught within 100 miles of the border who had arrived in the U.S. in the previous two weeks.
Most undocumented immigrants caught entering the country have beenÂ placed in detention or released on bond while their deportation cases proceeded. That practice, dubbed “catch and release,” led to many undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. and skipping out on their court cases.
UnderÂ the new guidelines, people caught entering the country will be placed in jail while their deportation cases are processed. Homeland Security plans to hire 10,000 ICE agents and build new detention facilities along the southwest border, and more immigration judges and staff will be hired to speed up cases.
Contributing: Alan Gomez