Donald Trump, the US president, on Friday threatened to seal off the entire US-Mexico border if Congress does not approve funding for a border wall.
His comments came as the federal government shutdown entered its seventh day, with Mr Trump failing to come to a budget agreement with his Democratic opponents.
The shutdown began on Saturday after Democrats rejected Mr Trump’s demand for $5 billion (£3.93 billion) for a border wall to be included in a funding bill to keep the government open.
“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,” Mr Trump tweeted Friday.
Analysts have warned that closing the border would cost hundreds of millions of dollars a day, with an estimated $558 billion in goods being transported across the border in both directions last year.
Such a move would also cause chaos for the nearly half a million people who are estimated to enter the US through its southern border each day.
An agreement on border funding will be the first big confrontation between Mr Trump and newly empowered Democrats, who won a majority in the House of Representatives in November’s midterm elections.
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. Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!
As he doubled down yesterday, Mr Trump also reissued threats to shut off aid to the three Central American countries from which a majority of migrants attempting to enter the US originate.
“Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money. Word is that a new Caravan is forming in Honduras and they are doing nothing about it.