Trump threatens to close Mexican border next week

President TrumpDonald John TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll MORE on Friday threatened to close the Mexican border or parts of it next week, writing in a series of tweets that unless Mexico's government immediately stopped illegal crossings he would take the action.

ADVERTISEMENT

The tweets come amid growing warnings from the administration about a crisis at the border, and more than a month after the end of a partial government shutdown triggered by a fight over Trump's demands for funding for a border wall. 

Trump blamed both Democrats in Congress and Mexico for the problems, accusing Mexico of making "a fortune" from the U.S. that is greater than its costs of protecting the border. 

He said Democrats were responsible for giving the U.S. weak immigration laws.

Trump made similar threats to shut down the southern border late last year, but ultimately ended up not following through on the threats.
 
The president's latest remarks set up his first confrontation with Mexico's new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and comes as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has reported that it has reached capacity for housing migrants at facilities in both Texas and Arizona.
 
He doubled down on the threats later in the day in comments to pool reporters, saying he will "keep the border closed" unless Mexico's government acts.
 
“If they don't stop it we will keep the border closed. And we will keep it stopped for a long time," Trump said. "I’m not playing games.”
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Mexico, he told reporters, must specifically take action to stop two incoming migrant caravans he says the administration has identified and work to stop others from reaching the border.
 
“They have to grab it and they have to stop it. We right now have two big caravans coming up from Guatemala, massive caravans, walking right through Mexico. Mexico is tough. They can stop them. But they chose not to," he said. "If they don’t stop them, we’re closing the border."
  
U.S. Border Patrol agents have been releasing migrant families in groups of hundreds at a time in Yuma, Ariz., as well as El Paso, Texas, according to the agency.
 
In his tweets Friday, the president accused Mexico of avoiding taking action to stop illegal border crossings.
 
"This would be so easy for Mexico to do, but they just take our money and 'talk,'" the president charged. "Besides, we lose so much money with them, especially when you add in drug trafficking etc.), that the Border closing would be a good thing!"
 
CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said a day earlier that illegal border crossings had reached a "breaking point" for his agency.
 
“For the first time in over a decade, CBP is performing direct releases of migrants when [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] is unable to provide bed space to relieve overcrowding,” McAleenan said. 
 
"We are doing everything we can to simply avoid a tragedy in a CBP facility,” he added. “But with these numbers, with the types of illnesses we’re seeing at the border, I fear that it’s just a matter of time.”
 
The news also comes just days after the president nominated a Washington-based attorney, Christopher Landau, to be the next U.S. ambassador to Mexico.
 
Updated at 3:53 p.m.