Trump threatens to close border with Mexico next week

US President Donald Trump speaks at an event focused on infrastructure at the Edgar Hoover Dike on Lake Okeechobee in Florida, on March 29, 2019. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to close America’s southern border or large sections of it next week, a potentially drastic step affecting the economies of both the U.S. and Mexico, if Mexico does not halt illegal immigration “immediately.”

“It could mean all trade” with Mexico, Trump said when questioned by reporters in Florida. “We will close it for a long time. I am not kidding around.”

Trump has previously threatened to close the border — including at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Thursday night — but this time was different as he gave a timetable. The White House did not immediately respond to questions about whether his possible action would apply to commercial and air travel, but a substantial closure could have an especially heavy impact on cross-border communities from San Diego to South Texas, as well as supermarkets, factories, and other businesses across the country that rely on trade from Mexico.

“If Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States through our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING the Border, or large sections of the Border, next week,” Trump said in a tweet. “This would be so easy for Mexico to do, but they just take our money and ‘talk.'”

Trump’s declaration came a day after Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his country was doing its part to fight migrant smuggling. Criminal networks charge thousands of dollars a person to move migrants through Mexico, increasingly toward remote sections of the U.S.-Mexico border in large groups.

“We are going to do everything we can to help,” Lopez Obrador said. “We don’t in any way want a confrontation with the U.S. government.”

A senior Homeland Security official on Friday suggested Trump was referring to the ongoing surge of mostly Central American families crossing the border from Mexico. Many people who cross the border illegally ultimately request asylum under U.S. law, which does not require asylum seekers to enter at an official crossing.

The official said the U.S. might close designated ports of entry to re-deploy staff to help process parents and children.

Ports of entry are official crossing points that are used by residents and commercial vehicles. The official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, did not specify which ports the administration was considering closing, but said only that closures were “on the table.”

Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin McAleenan said Wednesday that 750 border inspectors would be reassigned to deal with the growing number of migrant families, and the DHS official said Friday that the department was seeking volunteers from other agencies to help.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers have fought over whether there actually is a “crisis” at the border, particularly amid Trump’s push for a border wall, which he claims will solve immigration problems, though a wall wouldn’t keep out families who cross the border at official points so they can surrender and be detained.

The president called on Congress to immediately change what he said were weak U.S. immigration laws, which he blamed on Democrats. The Department of Homeland Security wants the authority to detain families for longer and more quickly deport children from Central America who arrive at the border on their own. The department argues those policy changes would stop families from trying to enter the U.S.

Leave a Reply to J.B. Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

6 comments

  • steve

    There are 48 legal entry points on the border. If anyone chooses any other place to enter illegally, tell our border security people to open fire! It’d never happen, of course, but I’ll bet there would be a lot fewer “border jumpers”

  • C

    I’m so sick and tired of the Democrats saying that there’s no crisis at the border. I would love to see Trump go on national TV at prime time and challenge Schumer, Pelosi, et al. to get off their lazy, ignorant rear ends and actually go down there and walk around for a day. Get out of their cushy Washington offices and see what the border people see 24/7. If they were to go, great. But if they refuse for any reason whatsoever, Trump should go back on TV and tell every American possible about their inaction.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.