Donald Trump Says '100 Percent' Ready To Shut Down US- Mexico Border

US News

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday, April 2 he is "100 percent" prepared to close down the US-Mexico border, warning Congress and Central American governments to take action to stem the flow of migrants into the country

Written By Press Trust Of India | Mumbai | Updated On:

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday, April 2 he is "100 percent" prepared to close down the US-Mexico border, warning Congress and Central American governments to take action to stem the flow of migrants into the country.

Delays were already rising at several key border crossings as Trump ratcheted up pressure on Democrats in Congress to toughen US laws against illegal immigrants, threatening to hurt the US economy in the name of border security.

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"It is a national emergency on the border," Trump said.

If Mexico does not stop migrants from transiting across its territory, and if Congress does not act, he said, "the border's going to be closed, 100 per cent." 

"Sure it's going to have a negative impact on the economy," he said. "Security is more important to me than trade." 

Trump said Democrats were blocking reforms for political reasons but could fix the problem "in 45 minutes." He was not specific, but Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has asked Congress to give border officials the power to forcibly repatriate Central American illegal immigrants, including children who arrived alone, back to their countries.

The threat to close the border, which handled some USD612 billion worth of trade in 2018, sent shivers through the economy, and drew warnings from allies of the president.

"Closing down the border would have potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country, and I would hope we would not be doing that sort of thing," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

His call was backed by the Chamber of Commerce, which said in a statement that while it backed immigration reform, closing the border "would inflict severe economic harm on American families, workers, farmers and manufacturers across the United States." 

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Homeland Security officials said they were preparing for the possibility of a shutdown of at least some border entry points as they divert staff to deal with the flood of migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, expected to hit nearly 100,000 a month.

Nielsen cut short an official trip to Europe to return for meetings early Tuesday on the border crisis, and on Monday Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said he would be meeting Nielsen and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the crisis.

Officials said facilities for handling the migrants -- who for the moment cannot be sent back after they cross the border and request asylum -- are overtaxed and understaffed, creating hazardous conditions.

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