In an interview with Mark Levin, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the recent immigration policy changes in Mexico and the United States. Pompeo argues that President Donald Trump’s threat to place tariffs on Mexican imports led to tougher immigration policy at Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala. The transcript below was edited to only include issues related to Latin America and the Caribbean.
QUESTION: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. How are you, sir?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m very good, Mark. How are you today?
QUESTION: I’m good. It’s a pleasure. I want to thank you for coming on the program this evening. I want to get into some of these hot topics. Mexico – President of the United States, he put his foot down. He said this is a national security issue, people are flooding into our country from Central and South America, Mexico’s not doing enough to stop it. He threatens them with a 5 percent tariff, they appear to have responded properly to that, and then of course what’s happening is the media and the Democrats are saying, oh, this was all going to happen anyway. Can you elaborate on that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I can, and you’ve actually described it pretty well, Mark. I was in the negotiations both last week and then have been working this for a year on plus now. None of this would have happened without the President raising the specter of placing tariffs on the Mexican Government. It brought a level of seriousness to the discussion that matches the seriousness that is this flow of illegal immigrants into our country. And so we got the Mexicans to agree to things that we previously not been able them – get them to agree to do inside of their own country, not only security at their southern border – and we’re happy to try and assist them with that as well – but real efforts to allow us to return asylum seekers who come to America seeking asylum, allow them to remain in Mexico during the pendency of their claim. That’s a big deal to the tune of – when we get it right, to the tune of tens of thousands of people a year that’ll be returned to Mexico and not be here in the United States.
We have to do this, we have to do this well. This is a national security and humanitarian crisis, and President Trump got a good outcome this past week. We now just have to execute on those agreements.
QUESTION: So I want to underscore this point for my audience – I just really want to underscore it – that but for the fact that the President said look, I’ve had enough of this, we’re going to put the tariffs in place, 5 percent, increase it every month, we wouldn’t have had a deal. Isn’t that your point?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Mark, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. When he raised the specter, they flew to Washington – Mexican leaders flew to Washington, we had intense discussions over two and a half days, and got an outcome which is now executable.
QUESTION: Why do you think the media, led by The New York Times and, of course, the Democrats, resist facts? In other words, why don’t they at least accept the fact that the President of the United States was right about this?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Boy, Mark, I try to stay out of the heads of —
QUESTION: All right.
SECRETARY POMPEO: — of some of those media folks. Because it’s unexplainable. This is – this is just a simple set of facts, pretty comprehensible, and pretty transparent, I think, to your listeners.