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President Donald Trump says he could close the southern border in the coming days as Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials saying they were on pace to apprehend more than 100,000 immigrants at the border in March.
The president tweeted on March 29: “If Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States through our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING the Border, or large sections of the Border, next week.”
CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said the border has hit the “breaking point,” adding that the “surge in numbers are just overwhelming the entire system.”
Trump, also on Mach 29, tweeted: “The DEMOCRATS have given us the weakest immigration laws anywhere in the World. Mexico has the strongest, & they make more than $100 Billion a year on the U.S. Therefore, CONGRESS MUST CHANGE OUR WEAK IMMIGRATION LAWS NOW, & Mexico must stop illegals from entering the U.S…”
On March 30, Trump announced he was cutting foreign aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – known as the Northern Triangle – the three Central American nations from which most of the immigrants in the so-called “caravans” originate.
“I’ve ended payments to Guatemala, to Honduras, and to El Salvador,” Trump said. “No money goes there anymore. We’re not paying them anymore because they haven’t done a thing for us.”
The State Department said it is following through on Trump’s order.
“At [Secretary of State Mike Pompeo]’s instruction, we are carrying out the President’s direction and ending FY [fiscal year] 2017 and FY 2018 foreign assistance programs for the Northern Triangle,” a State Department spokesperson told ABC. “We will be engaging Congress as part of this process.”
In the past week, CBP reported it had taken more than 12,000 immigrants into custody. The agency said it considers 4,000 to be a high number of migrants in custody and 6,000 to be at a crisis level. More than 12,000 migrants in custody, CBP said, “is unprecedented.”
Trump said he would shut down the border if Mexico does not do more to stop the immigrant caravans.
“We have right now two big caravans coming up from Guatemala, massive caravans, walking right through Mexico,” Trump told reporters in Florida on March 29. “So Mexico is tough, they can stop them. And if they don’t stop them, we’re closing the border.”
“We’ll keep it closed for a long time, I’m not playing games.”
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