Wednesday 23 October 2019

Trump threatens to close US border with Mexico next week

President Donald Trump (AP)
President Donald Trump (AP) Newsdesk Newsdesk

US President Donald Trump threatened on Friday to close the US border with Mexico next week, or at least large sections of the frontier, if Mexico "doesn't immediately stop all illegal immigration coming into the United States" from the region.

Trump has repeatedly vowed to close the U.S. border with Mexico in the past. The latest threats came in a series of Twitter posts amid reports that a surge of migrants in El Paso, Texas, threatened to overwhelm border protection officials there.

"CONGRESS MUST CHANGE OUR WEAK IMMIGRATION LAWS NOW, & Mexico must stop illegals from entering the U.S. through their country and our Southern Border," Trump said.

"Mexico has for many years made a fortune off of the U.S., far greater than Border Costs. If Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States throug our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING the Border, or large sections of the Border, next week."

Democratic and Republican legislators have fought 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 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.

In February, Mr Trump declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the US-Mexico border.

He threatened to close the border last December unless his wall funds were agreed.

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