MEXICO: US officials promised Mexico no "mass deportations" or use of military force to expel immigrants, moving to calm tensions over President Donald Trump's vow to crack down on "bad dudes" illegally residing in his country.
US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Mexican ministers who expressed "concern and irritation" over Trump's combative stance on trade and migration ties with Mexico.
Trump has outraged the United States' southern neighbor by vowing to build a wall along the border to keep out migrants from Latin America, whom he branded rapists and criminals during his presidential campaign.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Tuesday issued new orders to step up the arrest and deportation of illegal immigrants, many of them Mexicans.
But Kelly promised at a news conference in Mexico City yesterday "there will be no, repeat no mass deportations. Everything we do in the DHS will be done legally."
He added: "There will be no use of military force for immigration operations."
Earlier at the White House, Trump had described the stepped-up deportation drive as "a military operation." But his spokesman Sean Spicer later told a news conference that Trump was using the term "military" simply "as an adjective" to mean "efficient."
Or as Trump himself put it earlier: "We're getting really bad dudes out of this country, and at a rate that nobody's ever seen before."
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was also in Mexico City where he met with his Mexican counterpart, Luis Videgaray. The Mexican minister repeated his vow not to let the United States impose migration reforms on it "unilaterally."
"There is concern and irritation among Mexicans about what are seen as policies that could be detrimental for Mexicans in Mexico and abroad," he said.
"There are well-known differences and the best way to resolve them is through frank, clear dialogue." Tillerson said the two sides "reiterated our joint commitment to maintaining law and order along our shared border by stopping potential terrorists and dismantling the transnational criminal networks moving drugs and people into the United States."
But he agreed that cooperation on border security had to work both ways.
"We underscored the importance of stopping the illegal firearms and bulk cash that is originating in the United States and flowing into Mexico," he said.
"There's no mistaking that the rule of law matters along both sides of the border."
Kelly said the two countries were also cooperating on ways to stop US-bound migrants traveling up through Mexico from the impoverished and violent nations of Central America.