A meeting between US and Mexican government officials on Thursday is expected to be a tense affair amid staunch opposition to the Trump administration’s new immigration guidelines south of the border.
The new rules, issued on Tuesday, mean almost all illegal immigrants would be subject to deportation, with the US government seeking to send many of them back over the southern border, even if they are not Mexican citizens.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly are due to arrive in Mexico on Thursday for talks on security and immigration.
Mexico’s lead negotiator with the Trump administration, Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, said there was no way Mexico would accept the new “unilateral” rules, which among other things seek to deport non-Mexicans to Mexico.
He said the issue would dominate the talks, taking place on Thursday and Friday.
“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,” he told reporters at the foreign ministry.
“We will not accept it, because there’s no reason why we should, and because it is not in the interests of Mexico.”
Another senior Mexican official, Roberto Campa, who heads the human rights department of the interior ministry, said Videgaray was referring to the plan to deport non-Mexicans to Mexico, calling it “hostile” and “unacceptable”.
The Department of Homeland Security guidance to immigration agents is part of a broader border security and immigration enforcement plan in executive orders signed by President Trump.
Documents show the new immigration guidelines would include directing authorities to publicise the crimes of undocumented immigrants, create new detention facilities and use local police to enforce immigration laws in a bid to speed up deportations, the New York Times reported.
Undocumented immigrants who entered America as young children, known as ‘Dreamers’, won’t be deported unless they commit crimes, according to officials.
Lawyers and immigrant rights advocates have said the new laws may be challenged in the courts.