AP

Trump threatens to close border with Mexico next week

Mar 29, 2019, 11:49 AM | Updated: 11:53 am
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., Thursday, March 28, 2019. (AP ...
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., Thursday, March 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to close the nation’s Mexican border or large sections of it next week, a potentially drastic step affecting both nations’ economies, if Mexico does not halt illegal immigration at once.

“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 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 on Friday suggested Trump was referring to the ongoing surge of mostly Central American families crossing the border from Mexico, though many of those families request asylum under U.S. law.

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

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.”

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. Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said Thursday the immigration system is cracking under the strain.

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

Arrests all along the southern border have skyrocketed 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, U.S. 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.

Today’s Top Stories

AP

supreme court pictured, its new term has started and will hear new cases...
The Associated Press

Supreme Court’s top cases for new term, new Justice Jackson

Already the Supreme Court has said it will decide cases on a range of major issues including affirmative action, voting rights and the rights of LGBTQ people.
1 day ago
TikTok shown on a phone. TikTok is proving influential in poliitics...
DAVID KLEPPER Associated Press

TikTok politics: Candidates turn to it ‘for better or worse’

TikTok isn't just about viral dance challenges anymore, but also a place to shop, learn about beauty, fashion or even politics.
4 days ago
Damage from Hurricane Ian...
ADRIANA GOMEZ-LICON Associated Press

Ian returns to hurricane status, meanwhile floods trap many in Florida

Hours after weakening to a tropical depression while crossing the Florida peninsula, Ian regained hurricane strength Thursday evening after emerging over the Atlantic Ocean.
5 days ago
An uprooted tree, toppled by strong winds from the outer bands of Hurricane Ian, rests in a parking...
CURT ANDERSON Associated Press

Ian makes landfall in southwest Florida as Category 4 storm

About 2.5 million people had been ordered to evacuate the area before the storm hit the coast on Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (241 kph).
6 days ago
The White House to ask for less money to fund border wall...
ACACIA CORONADO and GISELA SALOMON Associated Press

Increase in Venezuelan migration is felt across US

Last month, Venezuelans surpassed Guatemalans and Hondurans to become the second-largest nationality stopped at the U.S. border after Mexicans.
8 days ago
In Iran, protests have led to violent clashes between citizens and security forces. Protesters pict...
The Associated Press

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

The scope of Iran's ongoing unrest, the worst in several years, still remains unclear as protesters in more than a dozen cities.
11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Trump threatens to close border with Mexico next week