President Trump late Wednesday said immigration talks with Mexican officials would pick up again Thursday while doubling down on his threat to impose a five percent tariff next week if both parties couldn’t come to an agreement.
The president took to Twitter while on an overseas trip in Ireland and said that while meetings at the White House had shown some development, more was needed.
“Immigration discussions at the White House with representatives of Mexico have ended for the day. Progress is being made, but not nearly enough!” Trump wrote. “Border arrests for May are at 133,000 because of Mexico & the Democrats in Congress refusing to budge on immigration reform.”
Reiterating the trade threat he made last week, Trump tweeted that if the two sides couldn’t agree, the first round of tariffs would start Monday.
“Further talks with Mexico will resume tomorrow with the understanding that, if no agreement is reached, Tariffs at the 5% level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule,” he tweeted. “The higher the Tariffs go, the higher the number of companies that will move back to the USA!”
Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer were all scheduled to meet on Wednesday with Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign minister. Talks continued into the night at the State Department and were to resume Thursday, The Associated Press reported.
Discussions at the White House meeting centered on immigration, not tariffs, Ebrard said. "We are optimistic," he said at a news conference at the Mexican Embassy.
Trump last week said the U.S. would impose a five percent tariff on incoming Mexican products as a result of migrants crossing the nation’s southern border. The tariff is scheduled to go into effect on June 10, Trump said, while threatening to raise it further “until the Illegal Immigration problem” is resolved.
In a statement via the White House at the time, Trump said if Mexico did not step in, the tariff would be raised to 10 percent on July 1, 15 percent on Aug. 1, 20 percent on Sept. 1 and 25 percent on Oct. 1.
Fox Business’ Joe Williams and The Associated Press contributed to this report.