President Trump declared on May 31 that he is strongly considering placing a five percent tariff on the United States’ southern neighbor, Mexico. The president stated on Twitter, “Mexico must take back their country from the drug lords and cartels. The Tariff is about stopping drugs as well as illegals!”
The decision comes on the heels of a months-long, increasingly volatile situation at the border.
The United States is experiencing near record-high illegal immigrant border crossings — almost reaching 110,000 in the month of April.
Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX-08), the top-ranking Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, issued a statement in a press release in response to President Trump’s proposed tariffs.
Brady stated, “The President has made it clear that Mexico must do more to stop this crisis at the border which seemingly has no end, and he is serious about taking whatever actions are necessary to find a real lasting solution.”
Brady was instrumental in shaping President Trump’s most significant legislative victory of his presidency thus far — the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
He also stated that Mexico is “a valued ally” and stressed a need to find “common ground” before the tariffs go into effect. He concluded by saying that officials on both sides recognize the importance of solving this problem and that it “will be essential to passage of the new USMCA that will benefit workers, farmers, and businesses in both countries.”
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is the name of the ongoing renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). USMCA is sometimes referred to as the “New NAFTA.”
The treaty has been signed, but has not yet been ratified.
Cracking down on illegal immigration and border security was arguably the key issue Trump ran on in 2016 and has remained a top priority for his administration. Until this point, however, little has been done to deliver on the policy promise.
Earlier this month, the White House released its immigration and border security reform plan, which includes a broad vision for securing the border and transitioning the United States to a merit-based immigration system.
The President is now seemingly linking an attempt to solve the crisis on the southern border with his approach on trade, namely, instituting tariffs.
This new strategy, in Trump’s owns words, is designed to force Mexico’s hand into doing “what must be done.”
By that, he means securing their side of the border.
Mexico is both the top importer of Texas goods and the top exporter to Texas — at a rate of $89.8 billion and $97.7 billion respectively.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report based on 2018 numbers that details which states would be hit worst by the proposed tariffs. Their analysis claims Texans would be hit with $5.35 billion in taxes on the cost of goods from the tariffs — almost double the next closest state, Michigan, at $2.8 billion.
The tariffs are not scheduled to go into effect until June 10, so a deal could be struck before then to mitigate any potential negative effects.
Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.