Trump eases up on border shutdown threat

President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened again to close the U.S. border with Mexico, this time calling on Congress to take steps immediately to deal with immigration and security loopholes.

To try to address the problem, the Trump administration in January started sending some migrants to wait out their USA court dates in Mexican border cities.

Trump has also been told by some advisers that it would be extremely hard to operationally shut down the border, but he has told them to move forward with looking at ways to achieve the feat.

However, White House chief economist Larry Kudlow said they were working to minimize the economic impact from a closure of the border - including keeping truck lanes open.

The trading relationship between the USA and Mexico is so intricate that many grocers supplement their US produce with imports from Mexico throughout the year, depending on consumer demand, says Richard Owen, a vice president at Produce Marketing Association, which represents companies that supply fresh produce and flowers.

One economist predicted this week that the entire U.S. auto industry would shut down within a week if the President closes the border, because every United States auto plant depends on parts made in Mexico.

"Sure it's going to have a negative impact on the economy", he said.

On Monday, the Mexican government said it would help regulate the flow of migrants.

"House Democratic leaders are considering trying to force Republicans to vote on whether they support Trump's threat to close down the border", a senior Democratic aide told Sargent.

DHS says that besides getting Mexico to block the transit of migrant caravans to the border, Congress should take immediate action to give border officials the power to forcibly repatriate Central American illegal immigrants, including children who arrived alone, back to their countries.

Leading experts in the auto industry theorize that the entire USA auto industry would shutdown within a week if President Donald Trump follows through with a pledge to shutdown the border - the real threat, according to Kristin Dziczek, the vice president of the Center for Automotive Research, is that 37-percent of auto parts used in US-built vehicles come from South of the border.

"Wait times in Brownsville (Texas) were around 180 minutes, which were two times the peaks of a year ago", said a senior DHS official on a call with reporters.

Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard is in constant communication with United States authorities to avoid conflict and to keep the border open, Lopez Obrador told reporters at his regular morning news conference.

Trump has told advisers that he would close the ports of entry and reallocate the border-patrol agents to other parts of the country.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce began raising alarms last week about Trump's threat to shut down the border, saying it could have a crippling effect on the U.S. economy. According to Dziczek, roughly 70 per cent of the wiring harnesses used in USA -built vehicles come from Mexico.

"Central American states need to go deeper to address those problems domestically in order to prevent people from moving out of the country", Zhao said. But Trump has so far refused to back down.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Tuesday that backups were delaying commercial traffic at the US-Mexico border at several crossings. And U.S. companies exported $243.3 billion in goods.

  • Jon Douglas