Trump’s impossible ultimatum

Friday - 29/03/2019 16:09
US President Donald Trump speaks at an event in Florida, on March 29, 2019. Picture: Nicholas Kamm / AFP.Source:AFP
US President Donald Trump speaks at an event in Florida, on March 29, 2019. Picture: Nicholas Kamm / AFP.Source:AFP
For the first time, Donald Trump has put a timeline on his repeated threat to “close the Mexican border”, and warned it will happen within days if he doesn’t get his way.



Donald Trump has warned he will close the southern US border within days if Mexico doesn’t immediately stop “all illegal immigration” to the country.

In a series of tweets on Friday, the US president threatened swift action, which would see him

Mr Trump said he would be “closing the border, or large sections of the Border, next week” if Mexico doesn’t “stop illegals from entering the US … throug (sic) our Southern Border”.

“This would be so easy for Mexico to do, but they just take our money and ‘talk’,” he continued.

“Besides, we lose so much money with them, especially when you add in drug trafficking etc.”

Mr Trump said that closing off border crossings, key avenues for trade with a major partner, “would be a good thing!”

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Mr Trump has made cracking down on illegal immigration a top political priority but has previously threatened on multiple occasions to close border crossings without following through. He suggested closing it ahead of last year’s midterm elections, during the December government shutdown, and earlier this week when he accused Central American governments of squandering American aid. But he hasn’t put a timeline on the threat until now.

The rhetoric has previously sparked concerns about economic damage from closing points of entry with a vital trading partner.

Central American migrants, part of the caravan hoping to reach the US border, move on a road in Tapachula, Chiapas State, Mexico, on March 28, 2019. Picture: AP/Isabel Mateos.
Central American migrants, part of the caravan hoping to reach the US border, move on a road in Tapachula, Chiapas State, Mexico, on March 28, 2019. Picture: AP/Isabel Mateos.Source:AP

 

A caravan of about 2,500 Central Americans and Cubans is currently making its way through Mexico's southern state of Chiapas. Picture: AP/Isabel Mateos.
A caravan of about 2,500 Central Americans and Cubans is currently making its way through Mexico's southern state of Chiapas. Picture: AP/Isabel Mateos.Source:AP


The threat came one day after Mr Trump appeared at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he described immigration as an “invasion” and referred to the plight of asylum seekers as a “big fat con job.”


Democratic and Republican politicians have fought over whether there actually is a “crisis” at the border, particularly amid Mr Trump’s push for a border wall, which he claims will solve immigration problems. Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said Thursday the immigration system was cracking under the strain.

US President Donald Trump speaks in Florida, on March 29, 2019. Picture: Nicholas Kamm / AFP.
US President Donald Trump speaks in Florida, on March 29, 2019. Picture: Nicholas Kamm / AFP.Source:AFP

 

The president called on Congress to immediately change what he said were weak US 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.

A Border Patrol unit remains next to a section of the US-Mexico border fence with Mexico on the left side and the United States on the right. Picture: Guillermo Arias / AFP.
A Border Patrol unit remains next to a section of the US-Mexico border fence with Mexico on the left side and the United States on the right. Picture: Guillermo Arias / AFP.Source:AFP

 

 
Wildflowers bloom in front of the US-Mexico border fence seen from Tijuana, in Baja California state, Mexico, on March 26, 2019. Picture: Guillermo Arias / AFP.
Wildflowers bloom in front of the US-Mexico border fence seen from Tijuana, in Baja California state, Mexico, on March 26, 2019. Picture: Guillermo Arias / AFP.Source:AFP

 

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. US Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin McAleenan on Wednesday said “the breaking point” had arrived and his agency was “reluctantly” releasing migrants because of overcrowding at detention facilities.



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 Keywords: Donald Trump, Mexico, US border

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