President Trump said that he considers Mexico a friend to the U.S. "this week" in his first interview on Spanish-language television while in the White House. The interview with Telemundo and NBC News anchor José Díaz-Balart will air in full Thursday evening.
"Well, this week I consider them a friend. They've been doing a great job actually. They -- we signed an agreement last week," Mr. Trump said. Mexico agreed to ramp up its efforts to prevent illegal migrants from crossing the southern border after Mr. Trump had threatened to impose 5% tariffs on all Mexican goods. Mr. Trumpshortly before the tariffs were set to go into effect.
"They can easily stop this tremendous migration to the United States. And then we have all the illegals coming in. It's no good," Mr. Trump said. "Mexico has been great for the last week and a half. Now, I signed the agreement a week and a half ago. But they've been great -- they've honored the agreement."
But Mr. Trump also said that if he feels Mexico is not doing enough to stem the tide of migrants, that he would "put tariffs on them."
In a joint declaration earlier this month, Mexico agreed to increase its enforcement efforts along its southern border with Guatemala, including deploying its national guard troops. Mexico also agreed to take action against human smuggling and trafficking organizations. The parties reached a deal after three days of intense negotiations between Mexican and U.S. officials.
The agreement leaves open the possibility that the deal could be altered if progress is not considered to be sufficient. "Both parties also agree that, in the event the measures adopted do not have the expected results, they will take further actions," the agreement says.
Under the agreement, the U.S. is also "immediately" expanding its Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the "Remain-in-Mexico" policy, which started at the end of January. Individuals who are trying to come to the U.S. to seek asylum will be returned to Mexico to wait for their asylum claims to be heard in court. Mexico said that it will offer jobs, healthcare and education to the asylum-seekers.