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Durbin: Trump threat to close border 'totally unrealistic boast'

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats warn GOP will regret Barrett confirmation Democrats brace for nail-biting finish to Senate battle Democratic Senate emerges as possible hurdle for progressives  MORE (D-Ill.) Sunday called President TrumpDonald John TrumpStephen Miller: Trump to further crackdown on illegal immigration if he wins US records 97,000 new COVID-19 cases, shattering daily record Biden leads Trump by 8 points nationally: poll MORE's threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border this week a "totally unrealistic boast." 

“When the president says he’s going to close the border, that is a totally unrealistic boast on his part,” Durbin, the Senate minority whip, said on NBC News's "Meet the Press."

“What we need to do is focus on what’s happening in Central America, where three countries are dissembling before for our eyes and people are desperately coming to the United States. The president cutting off aid to those countries will not solve the problem.”

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Trump tweeted twice last week that he could close parts of the border unless Mexico's government immediately stopped illegal crossings and blamed Democrats for "weak immigration laws."

The tweets came after Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said last Wednesday that immigration enforcement has reached a "breaking point."

The U.S. has seen record numbers of border crossing recently.

This is not the first time Trump has threatened to close the border. He threatened in November and in December of last year to do the same. 

Durbin said Sunday that short-term efforts to address the humanitarian situation at the border should take precedence over closing it.

“The first thing we ought to do… is meet the humanitarian needs at the border, instead of building fences to or three years in the future by taking money from the Department of Defense,” the Illinois lawmaker said.