Washington, Mar 30 (IECurrentAffairs) US President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to close the nation’s southern border with Mexico next week, amid feud over illegal immigration.
“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 on Twitter.
He claimed closing off border crossings, key avenues for trade with Mexico, “would be a good thing!”
The threat came a day after Trump criticized Mexico and several Central American nations for not halting illegal immigrants heading north to cross the US border.
“Mexico is doing NOTHING to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants to our Country. They are all talk and no action,” Trump said in a tweet Thursday. “Likewise, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have taken our money for years, and do Nothing.”
“May close the Southern Border!” he added.
The president’s remarks stood in contrast with those of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who has thanked Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador for their efforts to help the United States secure the border.
“America shares common cause with the countries of Central America in confronting these challenges,” Nielsen said in a statement Thursday.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has rejected Trump’s criticism.
“We respect President Trump’s position, and we are going to help,” Lopez Obrador told reporters on Thursday. “This is a problem of the United States, or it’s a problem of the Central American countries. It’s not up to us Mexicans, no.”
Trump repeatedly threatened to seal the southern border late last year, when the White House and Congressional Democrats couldn’t reach an agreement over his demand for billions of US dollars in funding for a wall along the US-Mexico border, a plank of his 2016 presidential campaign.
The latest threats were issued after US border officials said they are facing an increase in asylum seekers along the southern border, many of them reportedly children and families, fleeing violence and economic hardship in Central America.
Democrats have refused to give in over Trump’s proposals on border security, arguing that president was exaggerating the situation on the border for political gains while calling the proposed border wall costly and unnecessary.
Trump retaliated by declining to sign spending bills, resulting in a record-breaking 35-day partial government shutdown, which ended in January.
To acquire access to money for building the wall, Trump declared a national emergency in mid-February, a move that has drawn sharp criticism from Democrats and raised concerns among Republicans.
The US House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats, failed earlier this week to override Trump’s veto of a congressional resolution blocking his national emergency declaration.