In case you haven’t heard, Il Trumpe has decided that June 10, Mexico will be hit with a tariff… because of immigration (boldface mine):
President Donald Trump’s vow to impose new tariffs on Mexican imports risks sabotaging not just his drive to forge more favorable trade deals but also a U.S. economy that he says has strengthened under his watch.
Trump announced Thursday that he would impose a 5% tax on all Mexican imports on June 10 — and raise it to 25% by Oct. 1 — unless Mexico stopped a surge of Central American migrants into the U.S. That would swell the prices Americans pay for countless items from avocadoes to clothes to medical devices.
This being Trump, there’s a reasonable chance this will never happen. But if he does do this, then I predict he will declare victory and go home. Remember that Trump’s one political move is to blow up some sort of agreement over a demand, get something relatively small (sometimes he doesn’t get anything at all), and then claim he made the best deal EVAR–even though he essentially reinstated the status quo (after blowing it up).
So what he’ll do is engage in some sort of statistical slight-of-hand (well, he won’t, but you get the idea). If you look at the seasonal patterns of Southwest border immigration, in most years, there’s a surge in from February that ends in around June, followed by a decline to a lower level. There’s a very good chance Il Trumpe will ‘solve’ the problem simply by letting things run their course. If that doesn’t work, he can always play with the numbers (average over the last ten years or some other way of massaging the data).
Of course, this assumes he’ll go through with it in the first place.