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News > Mexico

Trump 'Not Bluffing' on Border Closure: White House

  • Honduran asylum seekers, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., walk during a new leg of their travel in Chiquimula , Guatemala October 16, 2018

    Honduran asylum seekers, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., walk during a new leg of their travel in Chiquimula , Guatemala October 16, 2018 | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 April 2019

The U.S. president and his adminitration say they they are not "bluffing" about closing the border with Mexico in order to manage growing number of Central American caravaners.

The United States administration under President Donald Trump reiterated the president’s threats to close its southern border this week if Mexico didn’t halt incoming undocumented people on their side of the fence.

 Mexico's 'AMLO' Still Popular After 100 Days in Office

Speaking to ABC's "This Week", White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney blamed Democrat Party members for what the administration is calling a ‘border crisis’ with Mexico as thousands of Central Americans refugees continue to seek haven in the U.S. in order to escape extreme poverty, unemployment, and death threats in their own countries.

"Faced with those limitations, the president will do everything he can. If closing the ports of entry means that, that's exactly what he intends to do," Mulvaney said. "We need border security and we're going to do the best we can with what we have."

In a Sunday tweet, Trump himself fired at Democrats for what he described as "a ridiculous asylum system and major loopholes to remain as a mainstay of our immigration system."

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway made an appearance on "Fox News Sunday" saying the border was at "melting point," adding that Trump wasn’t bluffing when he said Friday he’d close the border with Mexico.

"It certainly is not a bluff. You can take the president seriously," said Conway.

During tweets and press events in Florida on March 29 the U.S. president said, “If they don’t stop them, we’re closing the border. … We’ll close it. And we’ll keep it closed for a long time. I’m not playing games. Mexico has to stop it.”

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) responded rather meekly to Trump’s accusations and insistence Friday saying: “We are going to help, to collaborate. We want to have a good relationship with the government of the United States. We are not going to argue about these issues” of migration.

Mexico’s new government, like the Trump administration, has, in fact, been cracking down on migration at their shared frontier. U.S.’s third largest importer has made a regular practice of refusing asylum seekers their legal right to cross into the U.S., and is helping U.S. border authorities to manage an asylum list to limit the number of border crossings, according to the NY Times.

For the first time in decades the AMLO administration, at Trump’s insistence, has allowed Central American who have managed to register for U.S. asylum to return to Tijuana, Mexico where they are vulnerable to human and drug smugglers to await a decision by U.S. authorities.

"Mexico is … doing NOTHING, a very bad combination for our Country. Homeland Security is being sooo very nice, but not for long!" he added, without explaining what he meant.

Yet, Department of Homeland Security will likely register 100,000 border apprehensions in March, potentially making it a new monthly high not seen in decades.

"What we need to do is focus on what's happening in Central America, where three countries are disassembling before our eyes and people are desperately coming to the United States. The president's cutting off aid to these countries will not solve that problem," Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin, told the press Sunday morning.

Last week the president ordered the cancelation of the billions of dollars in aid that the U.S. government provides to the Northern Triangle countries where most Central American refugees are traveling from.

Durbin called threat as "totally unrealistic."

If the border were to shut down Arizona alone could lose its biggest trading partner, Mexico to the tune of US$682 million in exports over a three-month period, according to AZCentral.

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