Trump Immigration Memo Angers Mexico, But Don’t Worry, the Relationship Is ‘Phenomenal’

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson exits his limousine prior to his departure for Mexico from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, on February 22, 2017. Photo: Carlos Barria/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly are headed to Mexico Wednesday. Things are still a little awkward as America tries to mend its relationship with its southern neighbor, but the White House might have made it that much harder with the release of sweeping new immigration memos.

Because, according to Reuters, Mexico is pissed. “I want to say clearly and emphatically that the government of Mexico and the Mexican people do not have to accept provisions that one government unilaterally wants to impose on the other,” Mexico’s foreign minister Luis Videgaray told reporters.

He added that, “We are not going to accept it because there is no reason why we should, it is not in Mexico’s interest.”

Videgaray was reportedly objecting to a section of the immigration memo that would allow for federal agents to send undocumented immigrants at the border back across to Mexico, even if that’s not their country of origin. Immigration to the U.S. from other Latin American countries, such as Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras has spiked in recent years with asylum-seekers fleeing violence, so that could be a not-insignificant number of deportations. Mexican officials say this issue will now dominate the talks especially since, based on the memo, such a policy change would likely require cooperation on Mexico’s part. (It also doesn’t seem as if the United States gave Mexico too much of a heads-up about this provision.) Another Mexican official told ProPublica: “It’s a non-starter. I don’t see a scenario in which Mexico accepts this solely because an executive order from the United States says so.”

One would think this would be a troublesome development, as Tillerson and Kelly prepare to sit down the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and other high-ranking officials Thursday. But that’s what alternative facts are for:

Trump Immigration Memo Angers Mexico