June 13, 2019
On June 12, President Donald Trump showed a group of reporters gathered outside the White House a mysterious sheet of paper—claiming it was his new border deal with Mexico. However, he did not disclose its contents, saying he would defer to America’s southern ally to state the terms of the accord.
Now it seems that the big reveal may never happen, according to the White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who declined to discuss details of the arrangement in an interview with CNBC’s Eamon Javers on the same date.
“If I told you, it wouldn’t be the secret part of the deal, right?” Mulvaney told CNBC at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2019 Fiscal Summit.
Asked when the public would see the secret deal, Mulvaney responded: “Maybe never,” noting, “Because if it works, it doesn’t make any difference.”
Mulvaney added: “The purpose here is not to satisfy your journalistic sort of, you know, inquiries as to what the deal is. The goal is to reduce the number of people crossing the border.”
Javers pressed Mulvaney on whether the United States had agreed to “whatever the terms are in this secret deal? We’ve signed up for something as a country?”
“Yeah,” Mulvaney said. “Again, it’s something that will kick in if the other things don’t work.”
In that case, Mulvaney said, the public would find out about the deal.
On June 7, the United States and Mexico issued a joint declaration that resolved Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on Mexican imports if the country did not take action to reduce the flow of migrants across its northern border. As part of the deal, Mexico agreed to deploy its national guard to its southern border with Guatemala.
That declaration made no mention of other agreements. Mexico has flatly denied any secret deal.
But Trump has said that a secret element of the deal will soon be public.
“We have fully signed and documented another very important part of the immigration and security deal with Mexico, one that the U.S. has been asking about getting for many years,” the president wrote in a post on Twitter on June 11 . “It will be revealed in the not too distant future and will need a vote by Mexico’s Legislative body!”
Parts of the text on the piece of paper were readable in a photograph taken by the New York Post, and raised the possibility that Mexico had agreed to a “safe third country” arrangement, which would require Central American migrants to request asylum in Mexico, rather than the U.S. The issue has been a sticking point in U.S.-Mexico negotiations.
According to CNBC, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard. said Tuesday that the country may consider such an arrangement if it cannot reduce unlawful immigration into the United States within 45 days.
Research contact: @CNBC