National Security

Trump Hits Mexico with 5 Percent Tariff, May Raise It Even Higher Until Illegal Immigration Stops

'My highest duty is the defense of the country'

Image Credit: Win McNamee/HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Thursday night followed through with his threat to go after Mexico because of the overflow of illegal immigrants at the United States-Mexico border.

Trump told the country that starting June 10, the United States will impose a 5 percent tariff — and it will increase over time until illegal immigrants stop crossing into our country.

“Mexico’s passive cooperation in allowing this mass incursion constitutes an emergency and extraordinary threat to the national security and economy of the United States,” said Trump in his statement. “Mexico has very strong immigration laws and could easily halt the illegal flow of migrants, including by returning them to their home countries. Additionally, Mexico could quickly and easily stop illegal aliens from coming through its southern border with Guatemala.”

The president said he would use the powers available to him in the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

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He also said companies that relocate to the United States would not have to pay the tariffs.

“As president of the United States, my highest duty is the defense of the country and its citizens. A nation without borders is not a nation at all. I will not stand by and allow our sovereignty to be eroded, our laws to be trampled, or our borders to be disrespected anymore,” Trump concluded.

The commander-in-chief is playing for the long term here.

Not only is he imposing tariffs, but he’s doing so in a reasonably unpredictable manner. That has an impact way out of proportion to the tariffs themselves, in my view, because it creates severe uncertainty about the cost of using foreign supply chains.

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CEOs cannot be sure they will get to keep the benefits of using cheap foreign labor at the expense of American jobs when tariffs could go up radically at any moment.

This adds greatly to the cost of anyone whose business model is to produce in China or Mexico and sell in the U.S. It’s just one more factor to consider for those thinking of going offshore — and that choice now looks a lot less attractive.

Trump’s goals are good, but I don’t know if tariffs are the way to get them. I read recently that such selective tariffs are banned by the WTO, which would make it even easier for judge-shopping leftists to find someone in black robes to halt them. If the law would allow Trump to tax remittances back to Mexico, that would probably be more effective.

It’s too bad Congress refuses to do its job and change some of our ridiculous laws as millions of Americans lose a good part of their retirement savings in their 401s.

But Congress, of course, has benefits no one else gets.

This piece originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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meet the author

Wayne Dupree is owner and founder of He was named to 2017 Newsmax’s 50 Most Influential African-American Republicans. He served in the USAF from 1987-1995; he saw time in Operation Desert Storm/Shield. The father of three, he's the host of "The Wayne Dupree Show."

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