Tillerson dispatched to Mexico to mend ties

The Associated Press

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, is welcomed by U.S. Ambassador Roberta Jacobson, left, and Mauricio Ibarra, director of North American affairs at the Mexican Foreign Ministry, as he arrives at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City on Wednesday.

The Associated Press MEXICO CITY (AP) — President Donald Trump dispatched his top diplomat and homeland security chief to Mexico on Wednesday on a fence-mending mission complicated by the actual fence he wants to build on the southern border. Mexico’s government signaled 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 neighbor.

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 President Enrique Pena Nieto and with Mexico’s top defense, finance and diplomatic officials.

Yet Tillerson’s counterpart in Mexico, Luis Videgaray, insisted that 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.

Still, senior Trump administration officials sought to play down the disagreements between the countries, describing close cooperation between the two countries on economic prosperity, law enforcement, drug trafficking and trade. Reporters were given an official briefing ahead of the trip on condition that officials weren’t quoted by name.

At the White House, press secretary Sean Spicer said the U.S.-Mexican relationship is “phenomenal.”Speech

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