Trump told a news conference in London on Tuesday he expected to impose 5 percent tariffs on Mexican imports beginning on Monday, citing the high number of mostly Central American immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border, Presstv Reported.
“We’re going to see if we can do something, but I think it’s more likely that the tariffs go on,” Trump said during a state visit to Britain, describing undocumented immigrants entering the United States as an “invasion.”
“Mexico should step up and stop this onslaught, this invasion into our country,” Trump said.
Republican leaders in the Senate publicly and privately pressed the Trump administration to negotiate a solution with Mexican officials and said the president could face a congressional blockade if he goes through with the levies.
"There is not much support in my conference for tariffs, that's for sure," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.
“Republicans don’t like taxes on American consumers, which is what tariffs are,” said Senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The president told Republicans not to block his efforts. “I don’t think they will do that. I think if they do, it’s foolish,” he said.
Trump has made combating illegal immigration a cornerstone of his presidency and has promised to build a wall along the US- Mexico border to stop the inflow of Mexican and Central American migrants crossing the border.
A Mexican delegation led by Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard will hold negotiations at the White House on Wednesday, hosted by US Vice President Mike Pence.
The tariffs will start at 5 percent and increase monthly until reaching 25 percent in October, unless Mexico takes immediate action on illegal migrants, Trump said last week in a statement posted on the White House website.
The threat has spooked global markets and put the ratification of a three-way trade pact between the two countries and Canada that took over a year to negotiate in doubt.
Mexico exports a broad array of goods to the United States, ranging from cars, auto parts and televisions.
US border agents detained over 98,000 people in April, 60 percent of them consisting of families, the highest monthly level in more than a decade.