Trump threatens to close border with Mexico next week

The president called on Congress to immediately change ‘weak’ US immigration laws.

Donald Trump has threatened to close the nation’s Mexican border or large sections of it next week if Mexico does not halt illegal immigration at once.

The potentially drastic step would affect both nations’ economies. Questioned by reporters in Florida, the president said: “We will close it for a long time. I am not kidding around.”

He has previously threatened to close the border – including at a rally in Michigan on 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 and both nations.

“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.’”

A senior Homeland Security official suggested Mr Trump was referring to the ongoing surge of mostly Central American families crossing the border from Mexico, although many of those families request asylum under US law.

Those seeking asylum are not deemed illegal simply by their arrival.

The official said the US might close designated ports of entry to redeploy staff to help process parents and children.

Ports of entry are official crossing points that are used by residents and commercial vehicles.

Central American migrants (Isabel Mateos/AP)

Democratic and Republican legislators have clashed over whether there is a “crisis” at the border, particularly amid Mr Trump’s push for a border wall, which he claims will solve immigration problems.

The president called on Congress to immediately change what he said were weak US immigration laws, which he blamed on Democrats.


Arrests along the southern border have rocketed in recent months. Border agents are on track to make 100,000 arrests and denials of entry there this month, more than half of them families with children.

To manage the crush, US Customs and Border Protection is reassigning 750 border inspectors from their usual duties at the ports of entry to help Border Patrol keep pace with arrivals in between ports of entry.

The head of the agency held a press conference in El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday to say the breaking point had arrived.

Press Association


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