WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a released statement on Thursday evening that he opposes President Donald Trump’s proposal to raise tariffs on Mexico until the illegal immigration crisis is solved.

Trump announced on Twitter late Thursday afternoon that he planned to raise the tariff on all Mexican goods by five percent on June 10 until migrants from Central America stop coming through Mexico. He added that he would gradually raise the tariff until the illegal immigration problem is solved at which time he would remove the tariff.

Grassley said Trump’s move is a misuse of his tariff authority.

“Trade policy and border security are separate issues. This is a misuse of presidential tariff authority and counter to congressional intent. Following through on this threat would seriously jeopardize passage of USMCA, a central campaign pledge of President Trump’s and what could be a big victory for the country. President Trump should consider alternatives, such as imposing a fee on the billions of dollars of remittances that annually leave the United States to Mexico, which only encourage illegal immigration and don’t help the U.S. economy. It could fund border security measures and would put economic pressure on Mexico without imposing a financial burden on U.S. consumers or harming American jobs,” Grassley said.

“I’ve long supported reforms to remittance law, which haven’t become law because of opposition from big banks and other financial interests. Mexico must help get the border crisis under control and the president should use appropriate authorities to apply pressure. I’ve also called for a Safe Third Country Agreement so that Mexico cannot simply pass the buck to the United States. Mexico has a leading role to play here when asylum seekers are traversing their country without regard to the law and without consequence,” he added.

“Congress must also immediately fully fund border security and interior enforcement. Democrats should come to the table in a reasonable way and work to put an end to the security and humanitarian crisis on the border. I support nearly every one of President Trump’s immigration policies, but this is not one of them. I urge the president to consider other options,” Grassley concluded.

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