June 5, 2019 / 6:37 PM / 5 months ago

U.S. pushes Mexico to take more asylum seekers, tighten controls: sources

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The United States is pushing Mexico to keep asylum seekers on its side of the border, clamp down on people smugglers and tighten controls on migrants in the south of the country, three Mexican sources said ahead of talks in Washington on Wednesday.

Among the talking points ahead of a meeting at the White House to stave of threatened tariffs are U.S. demands that Mexico rapidly expand a program under which it receives Central American asylum seekers awaiting hearings in the United States, the sources said, asking not to be identified.

Another more radical proposal being discussed is to make all Central American asylum seekers apply for that status in Mexico, not the United States. Mexico’s foreign minister has publicly rejected that idea, known as “safe third country” status.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the talking points.

U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to apply a first round of tariffs on all Mexican imports next week if Lopez Obrador’s government does not stem the flow of mostly Central American migrants seeking entry into the United States.

Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel and Anthony Esposito; Editing by Dave Graham.

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