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GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger explains why he opposes tariffs on Mexico

GOP rep explains opposition to Mexico tariffs

Many GOP lawmakers are at odds with President Trump over the new escalating tariffs he has threatened to impose on Mexico beginning next week. One of those opposed to the plan is Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, joined CBS News' Major Garrett on CBSN's "Red and Blue" Wednesday to explain why.

"I'm not for the tariffs," Kinzinger said, though he agrees with the president that "there's a massive problem on the southern border" with illegal migration. Mr. Trump is levying the tariffs because he wants Mexico to do more to stem the flow of illegal immigration from Central America. Border apprehensions continued to rise last month — the U.S. detained or turned away over 140,000 people crossing the southern border, the highest monthly total in 13 years. 

Kinzinger is concerned about the impact of the tariffs on his district, which is about 80 miles southwest of Chicago. It's a heavily agricultural area, and the Illinois lawmaker said his constituents there have already been suffering from the earlier tariffs on China and from natural disasters. 

"They've been hit by massive flooding and constant rain, so the crops aren't even in right now," he said. "It's going to be a pretty bad year."

Mexico is a key market for the U.S., buying $19 billion in agricultural products last year. American farmers sell Mexico corn, rice, meat, poultry, soy and wheat, among other crops, and exports could be hurt if Mexico imposes its own retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports

But Kinzinger is also concerned about the precedent Mr. Trump's new tariffs would set.  

"The concern is, let's say we have a disagreement with the U.K. or we have a disagreement with Canada," he said. "Can you now use tariffs as a way to compel? And I think using tariffs to do something that has nothing to do with what tariffs were intended for can lead to a bad precedent down the road."