Toronto Star

Trump sends top U.S. diplomats to Mexico


MEXICO CITY— U.S. President Donald Trump dispatched his top diplomat and Homeland Security chief to Mexico on Wednesday on a fencemendi­ng mission complicate­d by the actual fence he wants to build on the southern border. Mexico signalled it was in no mood to be lectured by the new U.S. administra­tion.

Ties between the countries have plunged since Trump took office a month ago, punctuated by Trump’s insistence that Mexico pay for a border wall and other demands on illegal immigratio­n and trade. During their brief visit, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will face a Mexican government anxiously rethinking its relationsh­ip with its bigger, richer and more powerful neighbour.

Tillerson arrived in Mexico City late Wednesday, while Mexico was still reeling from the Trump administra­tion’s announceme­nt a day earlier of a deportatio­n crackdown that envisions sending people to Mexico who cross the border illegally — even if they’re not Mexican citizens.

Kelly, whose department is in charge of implementi­ng Trump’s immigratio­n crackdown, was arriving separately after a visit to Guatemala. The two plan to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and with Mexico’s top defence, finance and diplomatic officials. Tillerson’s counterpar­t in Mexico, Luis Videgaray, insisted his country would not “accept unilateral decisions imposed by one government on another.”

“We don’t have to and it is not in the interest of Mexico,” Videgaray said.

He hinted that Mexico might seek to challenge Trump’s move at the United Nations or in other internatio­nal bodies.

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