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Rep. Davis: Mexico Tariffs Not Best Way To Fix Immigration

Rodney Davis speaks
Jeff Roberson
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, a Taylorville Republican who represents parts of Bloomington-Normal, said he opposes using tariffs to address immigration in this way.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis said Thursday he’s opposed to President Trump’s plan to impose new tariffs on Mexican goods as a way to reduce illegal immigration.

Last week President Trump said he would impose a 5% tariff starting June 10 on all imported goods from Mexico that would "gradually increase" until the flow of undocumented immigrants across the border stopped.

Davis, a Taylorville Republican who represents parts of Bloomington-Normal, said he opposes using tariffs to address immigration in this way.

“But we can’t close our eyes to the crisis that’s happening on our border,” he said.

Davis said the Trump administration missed an opportunity last July to pass a bipartisan immigration bill, HR 6136, when Republicans still controlled the U.S. House. He said that bill would've dealt with both border security and the Dreamers.

But he says it only garnered about 112 Republican supporters, no Democrats, and Trump himself backed away from it with the midterm elections looming.

“Right when it was crunch time (Trump) said, ‘Well, maybe we can solve this after the elections.’ That’s not leadership. And the administration knows that using tariffs now, when we had a solution before that should’ve been bipartisan, is not the answer.”

Davis said he's worried tariffs on Mexico will jeopardize the ability to finalize a reworked version of the NAFTA trade deal between the US, Mexico, and Canada, known as the USMCA.

In an interview with Charlie Schlenker on GLT's Sound Ideas, Davis said the USMCA and other bilateral deals are still in play—for now.

“They have a chance to go down as one of the greatest administrations in U.S. history when it comes to global free trade. But they’re on the precipice of being the worst ever if they don’t get any of this done. And this tariff threat, it takes our eye off the ball when it comes to passing the USMCA through Congress,” Davis said.

Davis was in McLean County on Thursday, also visiting Chestnut Health Services to discuss efforts to slow the opioid epidemic. He also stopped at Funks Grove Heritage Fruits and Grains and the family’s maple sirup shop.

You can also listen to the full interview:

GLT's full interview.

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Ryan Denham is the content director for WGLT and WCBU.
WGLT News Director Charlie Schlenker grew up in Rock Island and graduated from Augustana College. He has spent more than three decades in radio.