WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – President Trump says Mexico could easily halt the illegal flow of migrants into the U.S., so the president has opened a new front in his trade war to force Mexico to take action.
Surveillance video shows a group of more than 1,000 migrants illegally crossing the U.S./mexican border. The Trump administration says this is why the U.S. is cracking down on Mexico.
“They could have easily broken up this group, arrested them or sent them back home. And they didn’t do anything,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
Sanders told reporters that until Mexico stops the flow of migrants, the U.S. will begin to charge tariffs on every import from Mexico, starting at 5 percent on June 10, and increasing monthly to 25 percent by October.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the opening 5% tariff will cost American businesses and consumers $17 billion.
Robert Scott with the Economic Policy Institute said the auto industry and it’s workers could take the biggest hit.
“Because auto companies will find it easier to sell imports from other countries,” he said.
He said consumers are unlikely to notice a small increase at first, but if the tariffs ratchet up to 25 percent.
“We’ll be shooting ourselves in the foot, but this will also be very damaging to the Mexican economy,” Scott said.
During a news conference, Mexico’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrad, responded.
He called for dialogue and said his country won’t be provoked.
Lawmakers are away from the capitol until Monday, but the president’s plan drew mixed reaction on Twitter.
Administration officials say what happens next is up to the Mexican government.