U.S. President Donald Trump held up a piece of paper along the lawn at the White House Tuesday, saying it was his new immigration deal with Mexico that contains mystery provisions, even as Mexico says it has no idea what he is talking about.
"I'm going to let Mexico do the announcement at the right time," Trump told reporters on a sun-splashed day in Washington. "I just give you my word. In here's the agreement."
Asked if Mexico had agreed to become a safe third country to house migrants seeking asylum in the United States, Trump said, "I'm not going to say one way or the other."
Earlier on Twitter, Trump said, "Biggest part of deal with Mexico has not yet been revealed!"
But on Monday, Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard held up a paper and pointed to the previously announced details, including Mexico's deployment of 6,000 troops to its border with Guatemala to thwart the surge of Central American migrants heading to the United States.
"There is no other thing beyond what I have just explained," Ebrard said.
He said that if migration is not slowed, the two countries would discuss other options.
Trump had threatened to impose a 5% tariff on Mexican products arriving in the U.S. starting this week, but backed off when Mexico pledged to ramp up efforts to block migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala heading north to the U.S.
"Tariffs are a great negotiating tool, a great revenue producers and, most importantly, a powerful way to get companies to come to the U.S.A. and to get companies that have left us for other lands to come back home," Trump tweeted.
Trump has provided little clarity about any undisclosed portions of the agreement with Mexico.
"It's just another aspect of what we've done," Trump said during a brief event Monday on the White House South Lawn.
Asked by VOA why — if there was such an agreement — Mexico is denying it, Trump replied: "I don't think they'll be denying it very long. It's all done."
It could be related to plans for a regionwide asylum agreement if enforcement measures agreed to last week between Washington and Mexico City do not halt a surge of migrants from Central America to the United States.
"We trust that the measures we have proposed will be successful," Ebrard said. "But if they're not, we're going to have to participate in this kind of discussion."
He said further talks would only come after seeing how well the current agreement performs over the course of 45 days, and stressed the need to prove the worth of measures, such as investing in development in Central American countries so that people do not feel the need to leave their homelands to escape poverty and violence.