President Donald Trump may have an agreement with Mexico to commit to more “burden-sharing” on the handling of refugees fleeing violence and poor economic conditions in Central America.
In recent days, Trump has claimed that he has a significant agreement with Mexico in addition to the publicly known terms of a deal announced Friday, but declined to give any details. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday morning, he pulled out a folded piece of paper as evidence.
“That’s the agreement that everybody says I don’t have. I’m going to let Mexico do the announcement at the right time,” he said as he was leaving the White House to travel to a campaign event in Iowa. “This is one page of a very long and very good agreement from Mexico and the United States.”
Close-up photographs of the paper reveal that it discusses “burden sharing in relation to the processing of refugees” — likely a reference to some kind of policy that would keep migrants seeking asylum in Mexico or elsewhere instead of the U.S.
The Trump Administration has sought a policy called “safe third country,” a dramatic shift in which migrants would be required to seek asylum in Mexico rather than the U.S. Another option would be a regional agreement including Mexico and other Latin American countries to assume responsibilities for asylum-seekers.
After threatening tariffs on Mexico if it didn’t do more to help with the migrant crisis, Trump backed down on Friday, saying that he had a deal.
After the New York Times reported that two major provisions of Friday’s deal with Mexico had already been previously agreed to, Trump said Sunday that more was to come. “Importantly, some things, not mentioned in yesterday[‘s] press release, one in particular, were agreed upon,” he tweeted. “That will be announced at the appropriate time.”
But Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign minister, said on Monday that “there is no other thing beyond [the previously announced terms].” Both Ebrard and the document in the president’s hand referenced a reevaluation of the effectiveness of the agreed-upon measures in 45 days.