(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said that he would impose a 5% tariff on Mexican goods until that country stops immigrants from entering the U.S. illegally.
The tariff would take effect on June 10, “until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our country, STOP,” Trump said in a Twitter post on Thursday night.
He warned that the levy “would gradually increase until the illegal immigration problem is remedied at which time the tariff will be removed.” The tariffs could rise as high as 25% on Oct. 1, Trump said in a statement released by the White House.
“Mexico must step up and help solve this problem,” Trump said in the statement.
Over the past year, Trump has intensified his use of tariffs to try and achieve policy goals on trade, and now immigration -- another of his key issues.
Trump made curtailing undocumented immigration a centerpiece of his presidency and campaign. He ran in 2016 on promises to build a border wall to keep out migrants and declared a national emergency to tap federal funds for construction, after Congress didn’t provide as much money as the president demanded.
Jesus Seade, Mexico’s undersecretary of foreign relations for North America, told reporters in Mexico City Thursday at a previously scheduled event that the country won’t retaliate before discussing the matter with the U.S.
The Mexican peso weakened by as much as 2.3% after Trump’s tweets.
Many Republicans view immigration as a winning issue for them in 2020, and some progressive activists are fretting that Democrats will be left flat-footed without offering voters a vision for dealing with a flood of migrants and a system that both sides long have acknowledged is dysfunctional.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.