1. SOUNDBITE (English) Sarah Sanders, White House Press Secretary
"We want to work with Mexico. That's why the president has been asking for months for Mexico to engage, to step up, to do more. We're going to build the wall. We're going to secure our border, and the president's going to do what's necessary to protect the American people."
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Sarah Sanders, White House Press Secretary
"We've been giving them advance warning for months. We've asked them repeatedly and told them they have to do more. Let's not forget that the average individual that crosses over the southern border of Mexico, it takes 21 days before they reach the United States border. That gives them three weeks in which to break up, particularly these large groups. Just this week, we had over a thousand people that moved as a massive group through Mexico and came to our border untouched. They could have easily broken up this group, arrested them, or sent them back home and they didn't do anything. We're asking Mexico to enforce their own laws to help stop the people coming in from Central America. We've seen a massive influx of people coming from that region, and they have certainly the ability and the legal authority in which to deal with it."
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Sarah Sanders, White House Press Secretary
"They have not spoken directly, but certainly their teams have been in regular communication. And like I said we have been talking to Mexico for months asking them to step up and do more. And our teams will continue to work together."
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders defended the president's decision to impose new tariffs on Mexican goods as a way to pressure the government to stem the flow of migrants crossing the U.S. southern border.
"We've been giving them advance warning for months," Sanders told reporters early Friday. "We've asked them repeatedly and told them they have to do more."
President Donald Trump is placing a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports, effective June 10. He said the percentage will gradually increase - up to 25% - "until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied."
"We want to work with Mexico," Sanders said. "That's why the president has been asking for months for Mexico to engage, to step up, to do more.
The sudden tariff threat comes at a peculiar time, given how hard the administration has been pushing for passage of the USMCA, which would update the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Sanders described the new tariff as a "measured response to the authority he has," and she denied the president blindsided members of his own party on Capitol Hill.
Mexico is dispatching his foreign relations secretary to Washington on Friday to try to negotiate a solution.