White House Oval Office Washington D.C. July 26 3:48 P.M. EDT
Well, thank you very much for being here. We appreciate it.
I'm thrilled to be with a very important man in Guatemala, the Minister Enrique Degenhart. And we are doing a very important signing. It's a historic asylum, or safe third, agreement between our two countries. A very important event.
We've long been working with Guatemala, and now we can do it the right way. It's going to be terrific for them and terrific for the United States.
This landmark agreement will put the coyotes and the smugglers out of business. These are bad people. These are very, very bad, sick, deranged people who make a lot of money off other people's miseries. It's going to provide safety for legitimate asylum-seekers, and stop asylum fraud and abuses system.
This is also transformative in the step it will take, and the many, many steps it will take for security and safety. For Guatemala, it signifies the incredible bright future for their country. This agreement will usher in a new era of investment and growth for their nation, and sets the stage for cooperation between our countries and expanding access to the H-2A visa, which is your agricultural workers and farm workers.
We're going to have them coming into our country in a easier fashion than even before. It's very important for our business, for our farms, for our ranches. And we are going to make that a very, very much easier, less cumbersome program. And further bilateral investment will take place.
But the H-2A is really going to be streamlined. And all of those workers that come in, we want them to continue to come in. As you know, we have a very low rate of unemployment - record-setting. We're at about 3.5, maybe 3.6. I hear it's going down - probably will - because the country is doing tremendous business. Had another record stock market.
Today, we're sending a clear message to human smugglers and traffickers that your day is over. And we're investing in the future of Guatemala, the safety of migrants and their families. We'll protect the rights of those with legitimate claims, and we'll end the widespread abuse of the system and the crippling crisis on our border.
I want to thank Mexico. As you know, Enrique, the Mexican government, the President of Mexico, has now 21,000 troops on our double borders - on their border. By you, they have about 6,000. And then, on our southern border, they have - getting close to 20,000 by itself. It's going to probably be about 26,000 people total - soldiers. And very good ones. It's had a tremendous impact. Really an incredible impact.
So, Kevin, if you look at what's happened over the last short period of time, it's really been great. Now, if the Democrats would sign something, it would be a lot easier. But we have to do it around the Democrats because they refuse to want to close up the border. They want open borders. That means smugglers, it means hijackers, it means drugs, it means crime. It's frankly, a disgrace.
But with Guatemala and with Mexico, and with other countries that will be signing safe third agreements very shortly, we're doing really well.
I want to thank - if I might, Enrique - the President of Guatemala, President Morales. Please give him my regards.
Thank you, sir.
Thank you very much. He's a terrific guy. We like him very much. And we've worked together really, really well.
So if you two gentlemen would sit down, Kevin and Enrique, and you'll sign. I'll stand right behind you. This way, I'll confirm it.
(The safe third country agreement is signed.)
That's a very big thing. It's a very important signature. Never been done before. Thank you very much, Enrique.
Mr. President, thank you very much. Thank you.
Thank you all very much.
What was the breakthrough that led to this?
Look, we've been dealing for many years, I would say, with Guatemala and with other countries. And we are now at a point where we are - we just get along. And they're doing what we've asked them to do. And I think it's going to be a great thing for Guatemala. They don't want these problems either. So we were able to get this done, and we got it done fairly quickly. But this is after many, many years.
Mexico also is working along with us very nicely. I mean, tremendously, actually. You'll see a chart where the numbers are really through the - through the floor, I should say, because they're going down.
Kevin, maybe you want to speak to the numbers, how well we're doing in terms of apprehensions.
ACTING SECRETARY MCALEENAN:
Absolutely, Mr. President. Since the agreement was signed with Mexico that you energized and drove, we've had 28 percent reduction in June, and we're headed toward another 22 percent reduction in July in crossings. So 43 percent overall thanks to the effort on the government of Mexico's side and the implementation of our Migrant Protection Protocols border-wide.
And the fact that they do have, really, a big slowdown coming in from Guatemala at the border, because we have, again, 6,000 Mexican troops at the border of Guatemala. So that helps. But this will really help. This is something that's going to be rather incredible. So the numbers are going down.
We - we could really do this in a much easier fashion if we had cooperation from the Democrats. We have absolutely no cooperation. Nobody can understand them. Most of these people, five years ago, they all wanted a wall.
And we're building a lot of wall right now. A lot of it. We've ripped down old wall and we've ripped down wall that didn't even exist which was - it had bad footings, bad foundations. It was - there used to be a wall there; there wasn't. It was gobbled up by the people that crossed. And we're building beautiful, new wall. A lot of it. And it's getting built rapidly.
So a lot of things are happening. But this is a very - this is a very big day.
Mr. President, the big focus of the Democrats today was to say that they are going to continue and expand your investigations. They're looking through the grand jury testimony behind the Mueller report. They want to try to enforce the subpoena against Don McGahn. What do you say?
I think it's a disgrace what the Democrats are doing. It's so sad to see what their - how they're impeding all of the good things that we're doing. Like, as an example, today it's the border. We're strengthening up our border with a great country. And we have other great countries that are going to be signing on also.
And we're doing this all because the Democrats won't give us what we need. So simple: Get rid of the loopholes; work on asylum. It would take a very short period of time. They won't do it. All they want to do is impede. They want to investigate. They want to go fishing.
And I watch Bob Mueller, and they have nothing. There's no collusion, there's no obstruction. They have nothing. It's a disgrace.
We want to find out what happened with the last Democrat President. Let's look into Obama the way they've looked at me. From day one, they've looked into everything that we've done. They could look into the book deal that President Obama made. Let's subpoena all of his records. Let's subpoena all of the records having to do with Hillary Clinton and all of the nonsense that went on with Clinton and her foundation and everything else. We could do that all day long.
Frankly, the Republicans were gentlemen and women. When we had the majority in the House, they didn't do subpoenas all day long. They didn't do what they - what these people have done.
What they're doing is a disgrace. So destructive to our country. And I think that's why we're going to take back the House. That's why we're easily going to hold the presidency and we're going to continue to hold the Senate.
And you know, people don't say it, but we picked up two seats in the Senate. We went from 51 to 53 in the '18 election. Nobody says it. They talk about the House. And I didn't get to campaign very much for the House. I couldn't because we were campaigning for the Senate. We almost picked up five seats. You know that very well.
So it's a disgrace that they're doing it. They're doing it for political reasons. And most of them, many of them, are admitting that. It's politics. And frankly, it's a very sad thing for our country.
What's your thinking now about sanctions on Turkey? You had that meeting with the Republican senators the other night.
Well, we're looking at the whole Turkey situation. You know, they've ordered 125 F-35 fighter jets. Billions and billions of dollars. They've paid some of it. The planes are being made. They're easily sold to other nations because they're the greatest fighter jet in the world. And we have a backlog of orders.
But it's a tough situation. They're getting the S-400 and the - our statutes, and everything else. As you do that, you just can't order this equipment. And generally speaking, you can't order equipment, period.
I don't blame Turkey because there are a lot of circumstances and a lot of - a lot of problems that occurred during the Obama administration. This dates back to the Obama administration, which was a disaster, okay?
May I come back to Guatemala, sir?
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