Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to Mexico this week will be tougher than that of his predecessors as he seeks to soothe relations with America's neighbor to the south, NBC News reported.
The visit comes as the Department of Homeland Security said the United States plans to deport not only Mexican nationals in the country illegally back to Mexico, but illegal immigrants from any country who entered via the U.S.-Mexican border.
Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said Wednesday that will not happen.
"I want to say clearly and emphatically that the government of Mexico and the Mexican people do not have to accept provisions that one government unilaterally wants to impose on the other," Videgaray told reporters. "We also have control of our borders, and we will exercise it fully."
President Donald Trump already had previously sparked controversy with his insistence Mexico will be forced to pay for a border wall to keep out illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled a planned visit during the early days of Trump's presidency, though the two later talked by phone and reportedly mended fences.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday the trip by Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was not intended to fix any problems of Trump's making.
"I would argue that we have a very healthy and robust relationship with the Mexican government and Mexican officials," Spicer said. "And I think they would echo that same sentiment."
But Richard Stengel, former State Department official in the Barack Obama administration thinks differently, telling MSNBC, "A trip to Mexico by the secretary of state is like a layup. It's when a Big Ten school plays a small college in preseason and wins by 40 points."
Though it should not be "a hard thing,' Stengel said, "The president has made it very hard."
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