U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson touched town in Mexico City Wednesday for talks with officials, who are already angered by President Donald Trump's "hostile" new immigration guidelines.
The comments came as Tillerson and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly are in Mexico to sort out differences between the two countries.
They include plans to enforce an existing provision of the US Immigration and Nationality Act that allows authorities to send undocumented migrants back to Mexico, regardless of where they are from.
Trump also has called for a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which lowered trade barriers between the United States, Mexico and Canada.
Trump has also threatened to rip up the trade deal between the United States and Mexico if he can not renegotiate it to favor American interests.
The government official adding, Mexico needs to see the following, in these meetings today: Respect for the relationship that has been built, over decades. Kelly said the us approach will involve "close co-ordination" with Mexico's government.
Speaking in the White House ahead of Mr Tillerson's meeting with Enrique Peña Nieto, the Mexican president who recently cancelled a visit to Washington over strains in relations, Mr Trump said "that's going to be a tough trip".
Tillerson and Videgaray in Mexico City, on February 23.
NPR's Carrie Kahn explains that one provision, in particular, in the DHS memos has upset Mexicans: "The DHS guidelines say that migrants who pass through Mexico into the USA would be returned to Mexico even if they're not Mexicans, to wait out their legal proceedings", Carrie reports.
The issue of illegal immigration was a major campaign theme for Trump, who framed it as an economic and security challenge threatening the US.
They'll also be looking for acknowledgment that Mexico is one of the US's biggest trading partners, on which millions of jobs depend, and that the United States "is lucky to have such good neighbors". Non-Mexicans crossing the border would also be prioritized and instead of being flown to their country of origin, they would be sent to Mexico.
The US leader said Thursday he was determined to reduce the $70 billion US trade deficit with Mexico even at the risk of harming ties.
"The relationship with Mexico is phenomenal right now", Spicer said.
"There will be no use of military forces in immigration", Kelly said. NAFTA generates millions of jobs in Mexico and more than 5 million U.S.jobs, 500,000 of them in Texas.
Noting that Tillerson was in Mexico City, Trump said: "That's going to be a tough trip".
The only consensus so far in Mexico about the new policies of President Donald Trump is that the country isn't remotely prepared.
Mexico's lead negotiator with the Trump administration, Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, said there was no way Mexico would accept the new rules, which among other things seek to deport non-Mexicans to Mexico.
According to U.S. government estimates, there are 1.9 million "removeable criminal aliens", or non-US citizens who have committed crimes and are eligible for deportation, in the country.
Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, warned against the new enforcement codes, however. Some Mexican officials and analysts have hinted at countermeasures, suggesting that Mexico could suspend its co-operation on joint efforts to reduce transit migration and drug trafficking.
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