Armed Mexican government forces stopped a northbound caravan of Central American migrants after it crossed over the country’s southern border from Guatemala.
Reuters reported that the group of migrants met a collection of Mexican military personnel, immigration officials, and police after crossing near the town of Metapa in the southern state of Chiapas.
According to the Associated Press, the migrant column began at a border town and was headed to one of the main cities in the region when it encountered government forces who blocked the highway. Most of the migrants in the group complied with orders from immigration officials and got into vans, but some had to be wrestled to the ground, the report said.
The news comes as the short-term future of the trade relationship between the United States and Mexico hinges on the status of talks between Trump administration and Mexican government officials in Washington, D.C., which began the same day as the caravan interception in Chiapas took place.
After talks concluded Wednesday, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence publicly said that the discussions had yielded “not nearly enough” progress to avoid implementation of the incremental tariff plan. On Thursday, White House spokesperson Mercedes Schlapp echoed the sentiment.
“It looks like we’re moving toward this path of tariffs,” Schlapp said on Fox News. “What we’ve seen so far, the Mexicans, what they are proposing, is simply not enough.”
If those tariffs — which would begin at 5 percent and could go all the way up to 25 percent — do end up in place against Mexican goods after the Monday deadline, the administration could expect some serious congressional pushback.
On Thursday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said that he has already planned a move to block the proposed tariffs, should they take effect.
“Commandeering U.S. trade policy to influence border security is an abuse of power,” Neal said in a Thursday statement. “If the President does declare a national emergency and attempt to put these tariffs into place, I will introduce a resolution of disapproval to stop his overreach.”
The idea of pressuring Mexico’s government with punitive trade barriers has also received pushback from Senate Republicans.
“There is no doubt we have an emergency at the border, which is exacerbated and perpetuated by congressional Democrats who refuse to close loopholes in our law that are resulting in a massive influx of illegal immigration,” a spokesperson for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told Blaze Media in a statement Wednesday. “The answer, however, is not imposing tariffs against Mexico.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has also spoken out against the proposal, calling it “a misuse of presidential tariff authority and counter to congressional intent.”