Donald Trump ran on the political platform of making decisions centered on prioritizing the United States first. This has become known as the America First doctrine. Among his major platforms are doing away with trade deals, like NAFTA, that Donald Trump has argued are detrimental to the good of the country. Trump has also argued that immigration is dangerous for the country as well as detrimental to jobs, especially for lower skilled workers.
Trump’s administration has significantly stepped up the deportations of undocumented immigrants. In addition, Trump continues to argue that México will pay for the wall. Trump, and the president of México, Enrique Peña Nieto, met late last week at the G20 Summit in Hamburg. It is the first face-to-face meeting between both leaders since Trump assumed the presidency. The meeting was held behind closed doors. Both governments issued statements about the meeting.
Because of the controversy of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, the focus of the G20 meetings has been the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Trump. The issue of the wall payment also dominated the news cycle for a short time.
Except for a small muttered answer to a question from the press pool after the Peña-Trump meeting where Trump uttered “absolutely,” to the question of whether México will pay for the wall, there was no other official statement from the White House. The Mexican foreign minister issued a statement saying that the “wall was not discussed.”
The Trump White House’ official readout of the Peña-Trump meeting was concise. The statement “emphasized the strong bilateral relationship” between the two countries. The statement noted the “importance of renegotiating NAFTA to help workers in both countries.” The White House statement added that “regional challenges, including drug trafficking, illegal migration, and the crisis in Venezuela” were also discussed.
Enrique Peña Nieto reiterated the same topics of discussion in his remarks after the Peña-Trump meeting. Peña, however, added that temporary work permits in the agricultural sector was also discussed.
According to México presidential communique for the G20 meeting: “in terms of immigration, both leaders agreed to explore programs to allow for temporary permits for agricultural workers.” The Mexican statement added that they also discussed continuing to work on issues on international organized crime. Both presidents also discussed points of view on trade between both countries and the need to modernizing NAFTA.
It is the temporary work permits that has been glossed over by the noise about the Russian controversy. The Mexican government has publicly stated that temporary agriculture work permits were discussed. The Trump administration has neither denied nor confirmed that the temporary work permits were discussed.