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HIAS Statement on New Tariff Plan in Response to the "Emergency at the Southern Border"

Silver Spring, Md.--Last night, President Trump announced a plan to levy escalating tariffs on all imported goods from Mexico. The White House stated that this new tariff plan is a response to the “emergency at the southern border.”

According to the White House, effective on June 10, 2019, the United States will impose a five percent tariff on Mexican products. If the administration feels that the Mexican government is not doing enough to block asylum seekers from reaching the U.S. southern border, in July the administration will increase the tariffs to 10 percent, and will, on a monthly basis, continue to increase the tariffs until they reach 25 percent on October 1st, 2019.

In response to the White House announcement, Melanie Nezer, HIAS’ Senior Vice President for Public Affairs, noted, “It is not normal practice for HIAS to weigh in on U.S. trade policy. However, this policy is not really about trade. This is yet another attempt by the administration to stop families from exercising their legal right to seek asylum in the United States.”

Nezer went on to say that, “Elected officials, as well as economic experts, are already expressing their misgivings about this plan, and believe that if implemented, it could cause significant harm to U.S. taxpayers and businesses. Moreover, this plan does not recognize that Mexico is not yet able to meet the requirements necessary to ensure safety for asylum seekers on its territory. If the administration really wants fewer asylum seekers to reach our southern border, it should instead focus on helping Mexico, and other governments in the region, to strengthen their refugee protection systems and to develop a robust regional refugee resettlement plan.”

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