Trump: 'Very good likelihood' of closing US-Mexico border next week

President TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller MORE is ramping up his threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border next week, saying Friday afternoon “there’s a very good likelihood” he will do so.

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“Mexico is going to have to do something, otherwise I’m closing the border. I’ll just close the border. And with a deficit like we have with Mexico and have had for many years, closing the border would be a profit-making operation. When you close the border also you will stop a lot of the drugs from coming in,” Trump told reporters in Florida regarding illegal border crossings. “I will close the border if Mexico doesn’t get with it. If Mexico doesn’t stop it. They come in from Guatemala, they come in from El Salvador, they come in from Honduras, they come in from all over, and they come in from Mexico. And we’re working very hard to stop it.” 

While Trump has long decried a trade imbalance with Mexico, critics have argued that closing the border would have a negative impact on the economy because of the amount of goods that flow between the countries. 

The president threatened earlier Friday morning to shutter the southern border, blaming Democrats for weak immigration laws and saying Mexico’s government was not doing enough to prevent illegal crossings. 

“The DEMOCRATS have given us the weakest immigration laws anywhere in the World,” he tweeted.

The tweets echo the president’s repeated cries that the nation is facing an immigration crisis at the border. He declared a national emergency in February to allocate roughly $8 billion in federal funds to construct additional miles of barriers to prevent further crossings. 

However, his new threats mark an escalation, offering a firmer timetable for when he might act. 

Trump, who centered much of his 2016 presidential campaign around a border wall and hard-line immigration policies, views immigration as a winning issue for him heading into the 2020 race, often casting Democratic opponents as supporters of “open borders.”

—Brett Samuels contributed.