Homeland Security secretary: Mexico’s guard border deployment is ‘new’

Monday, June 10, 2019
By Paul Martin

By Mark Moore
June 9, 2019

The acting secretary of Homeland Security on Sunday heralded Mexico’s decision to send thousands of its national guard troops to the Guatemalan border as a new development, disputing a report that said the concession that averted new tariffs had been agreed upon months ago.

“All of it is new,” Kevin McAleenan said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I mean, we’ve heard commitments before from Mexico to do more on their southern border. The last time they deployed down there, it’s about 4 or 500 officers. This is a more than tenfold commitment to increase their security in Chiapas. That’s where people are entering from Guatemala in southern Mexico.”

President Trump announced Friday that he would hold off on imposing 5 percent tariffs on Mexican imports after Mexico said it would send up to 6,000 national guard troops to the Guatemalan border to curb the flow of illegal immigrants.

But the New York Times in an article Saturday said the agreement for the troops had been reached in March during talks between then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Mexico’s Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez.

Fox News host Bret Baier pressed McAleenan after Trump called the newspaper the “enemy of the people” whether the action was new.

“This is the first time we’ve heard anything like this kind of law enforcement being deployed in Mexico to address migrations, not just at the southern border but also in transportation routes to the northern border and coordinated patrols in key areas around our southwest border,” McAleenan said.

Baier noted that Nielsen testified to the House Judiciary Committee in December that there had been existing talks about Mexico deploying the national guard and asked whether this new commitment is different.

“It’s very different,” McAleenan said. “The president put a charge in this whole dialogue with Mexico with the tariff threat, brought them to the table, the foreign minister from Mexico arrived within hours. He arrived the next day with real proposals on the table.”

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