May 30 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Thursday imposed a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican goods in retribution for what he described as the country's "passive cooperation" in allowing an influx of migrants to cross the border illegally.
He invoked the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to establish the tariff, which is scheduled to go into effect June 10.
"From a safety, national security, military, economic, and humanitarian standpoint, we cannot allow this grave disaster to continue," Trump said. "The current state of affairs is profoundly unfair to the American taxpayer, who bears the extraordinary financial cost imposed by large-scale illegal migration."
Trump cited a growing number of Central American migrants presenting themselves to ports of entry seeking asylum or being apprehended attempting to cross the border between such locations.
In April, U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 98,977 migrants between ports of entry and determined 10,167 to be inadmissible at ports of entry. Combined, the figure was more than double that of April 2018.
So far in Fiscal Year 2019, which began in October, more than 530,000 migrants were apprehended or deemed in admissible, on track to outpace each of the past five years.
"Mexico's passive cooperation in allowing this mass incursion constitutes an emergency and extraordinary threat to the national security and economy of the United States," Trump said.
"Mexico has strong immigration laws and could easily halt the illegal flow of migrants, including by returning them to their home country."
The president said that if Mexico takes action to "dramatically reduce" or eliminate the number of undocumented immigrants from crossing into the United States, he will remove the tariffs. If the influx persists, though, the tariffs will increase to 10 percent on July 1, 15 percent on Aug. 1, 20 percent on Sept. 1 and 25 percent on Oct. 1.
The United States imported $371.9 billion of Mexican goods in 2018 and the country is the United States' third-largest good trading partner, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative data indicate.
Despite the increases during Trump's first two years in office, undocumented immigration numbers are still down from figures in previous decades. Border apprehensions reached a peak of 1.6 million in 2000 and have been on a decline, reaching a low of 327,577 since then.