Mexico rejects idea to keep Central American asylum seekers

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Monday that his country would reject a proposed solution to the immigration and tariff stand-off with the U.S. that would involve it keeping Central American asylum seekers.

The proposal, which has not been formally made by the U.S., would involve Mexico being designated a "safe third country" for the immigrants, meaning that refugees passing through Mexico to the U.S. would first have to claim asylum in Mexico. The U.S. has a similar agreement with Canada.

"An agreement about a safe third country would not be acceptable for Mexico,” Ebrard told reporters shortly before a meeting in Washington, D.C., with U.S. officials. “They have not yet proposed it to me. But it would not be acceptable and they know it.”

The president said Thursday he would place a 5% tariff on all Mexican goods, increasing 5% every month until the “illegal immigration problem is remedied.” The current crisis primarily involves people fleeing violence in Central America and passing through Mexico on their way to the U.S.

U.S.-Mexican talks to take place in Washington, D.C., were hastily arranged after the announcement.
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