FNC's Bret Baier grills acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan about the deal the president says he made this week with Mexico to reduce the flow of migrants from Central America across the U.S. southern border in exchange for the U.S. not imposing tariffs on Mexican goods:
BRET BAIER: Mr. Secretary, we heard the specifics there in David's piece, but how much of this is new?
KEVIN MCALEENAN, ACTING SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: All of it is new. I mean, we've heard commitments before from Mexico to do more on their southern border. The last time they deployed down there is about four or 500 officers. This is more than a tenfold commitment to increase their security in Chiapas. That's where people are entering from Guatemala and southern Mexico.
BAIER: Your predecessor, Secretary Nielsen, testified that these things were happening to the House Judiciary Committee. There were talks about moving National Guard troops to the southern border with Guatemala. You're saying this is different than that?
MCALEENAN: It is very different. The president put a charge in his whole dialogue with Mexico with the tariff threats, brought them to the table. The foreign minister of Mexico arrived within hours. He arrived the next day with real proposals on the table.
This is the first time we've heard anything like this kind of number of law enforcement being deployed in Mexico to address migrations. Not just at the southern border but also on transportation routes to the northern border and in coordinated patrols in key areas around our southwest border.
BAIER: The president tweeted this morning that any stories that said this was not -- this was not new, as you're saying, or false, but he said there are some important things not mentioned in yesterday's press release. One in particular.
MCALEENAN: Yes. So, the president tweeted out that this tariff has been suspended. Secretary Mnuchin pointed out that there's a mechanism to make sure that they do with a promise to do, that there's an actual result, that we see a vast reduction in those numbers. And as the State Department announced, there are going to be further actions, further dialogue with Mexico in immigration, on how to manage the asylum flow in the region, which is a small percentage of the total flow. This is, by and large, an economic migrations, that we need to stop with enforcement. We need to be able to repatriate people successfully.
BAIER: So, is the administration's point of view that this tactic worked as far as this threat of tariffs? You have the speaker of the House with a release that says, threats and temper tantrums are in no way to negotiate foreign policy.
You're saying that this threat worked?
MCALEENAN: People can disagree with the tactics. Mexico came to the table with real proposals. We have an agreement that, if they implement, will be effective.
Watch the full interview via FOX News: