Border Security

Trump Threatens Southern Border Shutdown

President explains the administration might 'be forced to close' it entirely if 'obstructionist Democrats' don't fund security measure

President Donald Trump warned lawmakers on Friday he might have to shut down the southern border if they don’t give him the necessary funding for the border security wall.

“We will be forced to close the southern border entirely if the obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our country is saddled with,” Trump tweeted.

“Hard to believe there was a Congress & president who would approve!” he added.

Trump has made illegal immigration issues a focus of his presidency thus far — and funding for a border wall has been a critical part of that.

He’s threatened to veto spending bills that don’t include $5.7 billion to fund the wall, as Democrats so far have refused to give him anything for the wall. The stalemate is what led to the partial government shutdown starting on December 22.

A surge of supposed asylum seekers over the past year has pushed the issue to the forefront even more. But nearly everything Trump has tried to do to process legitimate asylum claims and weed out the rest has been met with constant legal challenges.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has also been a strong interest of the president’s. He argued the international trade deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico was unfair to domestic workers. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was proposed to replace it but has yet to be implemented.

“The United States loses soooo much money on trade with Mexico under NAFTA, over 75 billion dollars a year (not including drug money, which would be many times that amount), that I would consider closing the southern border a ‘profit making operation,'” Trump tweeted. “We build a wall or close the southern border. Bring our car industry back into the United States where it belongs. Go back to pre-NAFTA, before so many of our companies and jobs were so foolishly sent to Mexico,” he also said.

Many of the asylum seekers over the past year have traveled together in large migrant caravans.

The largest of those from this fall included thousands of migrants who traveled from Honduras toward the U.S. southern border.

Trump warned in his tweets that a new caravan may be forming. Many news outlets have reported that a new and bigger migrant caravan is already on the move, but that these individuals will reportedly first try to find work in southern Mexico before heading toward America.

Related: Supreme Court Upholds Block on Trump’s Asylum Ban

“Either we build (finish) the wall or we close the border … Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money,” Trump tweeted.

“Word is that a new caravan is forming in Honduras and they are doing nothing about it. We will be cutting off all aid to these 3 countries — taking advantage of U.S. for years!”

Trump and his administration have proposed keeping migrants out of the country until their asylum claims can be accessed and automatically denying asylum to those who are found to be in the country illegally.

The issue is many migrants claim asylum after getting caught in the country illegally.

But then they are often released a short time after being detained and asked to show up for a court date — and there’s no guarantee they will.

Congress made the government shutdown essentially inevitable when both chambers moved to adjourn late on December 21. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tried to avert the shutdown by introducing a continuing resolution a few days prior to keep the government funded at current levels until February 8.

The Senate quickly passed the continuing resolution a few days earlier before it moved along to the House. But that version of the bill was derailed soon after facing internal opposition.

The House Freedom Caucus argued from the floor against the bill and urged a fight for border wall funding that same day.

Trump seemed ready to take the blame for the shutdown in the name of border security during a contentious meeting with Democratic leaders on December 11. But he later argued the Democrats would be at fault if they didn’t vote for border security.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) responded by putting the blame on him.

Related: ‘Very Possible Shutdown Will Go Beyond the 28th, into the New Congress’

Schumer had previously said he was only willing to provide the $1.6 billion for border security.

But those funds cannot go toward the construction of a border wall.

He later reduced that figure to $1.3 billion for border security funding.

Trump has rejected both counter offers.

White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said the shutdown could last into the New Year.

He also chastised Democratic leaders for lowering their counter offer instead of negotiating in good faith.

He was serving as the director of the Office of Management and Budget up until he was picked for the chief of staff job December 14.

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