Lars Larson interviewed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on a variety of issues, including regarding the migrant caravan, on November 1, 2018. The following is the portion of the interview relating to Latin America and the Caribbean.
QUESTION: Let me ask you about one other issue, and that is Mexico. I understand that the President is taking the lead on that. I understand that in this – at this point, who knows. But does diplomacy play a role in negotiating with Mexico with regard to the caravan that’s coming north toward the border? The President has said as recently as yesterday 10-15,000 troops down on our border to send the message: Don’t try to come in illegally. Where does diplomacy play a role, if any, in this at this point?
SECRETARY POMPEO: It certainly does, Lars. We are not going to permit these caravans to come across our border. They will not be permitted to enter. Diplomacy comes in in multiple, as I talk to my counterpart there nearly every day about the progress that’s being made and how it is that we can do the right things here in America so that Mexico can do the right things to ensure that these Hondurans, El Salvadorians, Guatemalans, and others don’t transit their country and enter the United States. So we spend a lot of time. It’s a foreign policy issue. It’s a national security issue. The President’s made that abundantly clear. And so there is a diplomatic element into urging these countries to do the right thing and prevent this unlawful entry into the United States.
QUESTION: And as a matter of international law, Mr. Secretary, now that they’re in a country that has said – Mexico has said we’ll give you safe haven here; we can – you can stay here; you can work here; you can make your home here. They’re not truly refugees or asylees, are they?
SECRETARY POMPEO: It is the case the Mexican Government has been very generous in offering them an opportunity to stay and to work and to receive the benefits of having done that work. It certainly changes the legal context, in my judgment. But more importantly, I think it makes clear to these people who are traveling that heading to the United States is the wrong thing to do; it won’t be successful. There are alternatives that will permit them and their families to have better lives. And so they should cease their movement towards the United States and either return to the country from which they came or follow the procedures that Mexico has put in place, which will permit many of them – indeed, nearly all of them – to stay in Mexico.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I have to tell you personally, as an American, it is a great pleasure to see a man who’s on the same page as a great President, doing great work, and representing people, going to far-flung exotic places like North Korea. God bless you for what you’re doing, and thank you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Lars. Bless you, too. Have a great day.
QUESTION: Take care now. That’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.