Donald Trump gave ground on his threat to close the border this week, saying that Mexico had one year to stop the flow of drugs and migrants into the U.S. or he would slap tariffs on cars manufactured there and close the border.
Trump told reporters at the White House, “We’re going to give them a one-year warning and if the drugs don’t stop or largely stop, we’re going to put tariffs on Mexico and products, in particular cars. And if that doesn’t stop the drugs, we close the border.”
Trump’s threat to shut the U.S. border with Mexico came in response to the ever-growing number of Central American asylum seekers who are traveling the entire length of Mexico to show up at the U.S. border. The president called out Mexico for not enforcing their own immigration laws.
He said that Mexico had “unbelievable” and “powerful” immigration laws and that such a threat would be a “powerful incentive” for it to act.
The warning is a step back from the threat he issued last week, when he threatened to close the border this week unless Mexico stopped “all illegal immigration” into the U.S.
On Tuesday, his stance appeared to soften, when he told reporters that Mexico had started taking further measures to stop migrants travelling into the U.S., and White House officials said that closing the border was one of a number of options on the table.
“So Mexico has, as of yesterday, made a big difference. You’ll see that — because few people, if any, are coming up,” he said Tuesday. “And they say they’re going to stop them. Let’s see.”
No one doubts that Mexico could do a much better job at policing its border to prevent at least some of the tidal wave of drugs entering the U.S. And its actions to actually facilitate the travel of Central American migrants who enter Mexico illegally to travel hundreds of miles to reach the U.S. border is inexcusable.
But closing the border would be economically damaging to both countries with one of the unintended consequences being an increase in illegal immigration from Mexico.
If Mexico has, indeed, committed to enforcing its immigration laws we should see a dramatic slowing of new arrivals seeking asylum at the border. It couldn’t come at a better time, as President Obama’s own border chief, Mark Morgan, appears willing to say what most Democrats refuse to acknowledge.
“We’re experiencing a crisis at the southern border at a magnitude never seen in modern times, it’s unprecedented,” Morgan, who served as the head of U.S. Border Patrol during the Obama administration, told the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
Morgan made the remarks after Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said that more than 76,000 migrants were detained in February — the highest number of apprehensions in 12 years — and were on pace for more than 100,000 apprehensions in March.
Will Mexico really put a stop to this “unprecedented” invasion? Stay tuned.