Pence: progress, but no deal yet with Mexico to avoid Trump tariffs

Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday that while there had been encouraging talks with top officials from the Mexican government this week, there was still was no deal on how the Mexicans would crack down on illegal immigration through their country, as the White House continued to hold out the possibility that the President would starts tariffs on Mexican imports next Monday.

"We'll evaluate those proposals, we will present them to the President," Pence told reporters. "But ultimately, President Trump will make the decision."

During a visit to Pennsylvania on Thursday, the Vice President made clear that not only does the President want Mexico to clamp down on illegal immigrants transiting through that nation, but also wants Democrats to come to the table with proposals to deal with changes in U.S. immigration laws.

"Congress can take steps to close the loopholes that are driving this crisis of illegal immigration," Pence said.

The threat of tariffs have drawn protests from a number of Republican in Congress, but before there was any talk of a legislative effort to block the move, lawmakers were waiting to see exactly what President Trump does.

"Tariffs are bad," Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) told Fox Business, who said he had no problem with the President threatening tariffs - but only in the context of trade discussions, not diplomatic matters.

Much of the GOP grumbling has come from lawmakers in Texas, as Mexico is that state's top trading partner - and neighbor.

"Tariffs are not my first choice on how to address this problem," Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said of the standoff over immigration among Mexico, President Trump and Democrats, as the Texas GOP Senator said even a five percent tariff would be a 'massive tax' on consumers and those who trade with Mexico.

Cornyn's colleague, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), repeatedly told reporters this week that while Democrats are to blame for a lack of legislative action, tariffs would exact a painful economic toll for his home state.

On Thursday evening, there were reports that Mexico had agreed to more heavily police its southern border - in order to keep out migrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala - but it wasn't clear if that would be enough for the President, who is due back at the White House on Friday evening.

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