WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump threatened Friday to close the U.S. border with Mexico if Democrats keep opposing funding for his proposed wall, but he did not spell out how he would carry out such a policy or its broader impact.
“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.
Trump has made the threat before but has not offered details. Illegal crossings are at the heart of his dispute with congressional Democrats over funding for a proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
It’s also uncertain how closing the border would affect migration. Many people seeking to enter the United States claim political asylum, and the government is required to consider those requests regardless of border closures.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that in November “51,856 people were apprehended between ports of entry on the Southwest Border.”
There were an estimated 10.7 million undocumented immigrants already living in the United States in 2016, a 12-year low, according to the most recent statistics compiled by the Pew Research Center.
The partial government shutdown began after Trump refused to endorse a temporary spending bill because it lacked full funding for the border wall. Senate Democrats, meanwhile, blocked a revised plan that included wall money, describing Trump’s barrier as an unnecessary waste of money that has now caused a temporary government shutdown.