WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump threatened on Friday to close the US border with Mexic
o next week, or at least large sections of it, if Mexico does not immediately stop illegal immigration into the United States.
Trump has repeatedly vowed to close the US border with Mexico during his two years in office, b
ut this time the government is preparing to follow through as it struggles to deal with a surg
e of asylum seekers from countries in Central America, many of whom travel through Mexico to the border.
Department of Homeland Security officials warned that commerce with Mexico, the Uni
ted States’ third-largest trading partner, could slow down as the agency shifts 750 border personnel from por
ts of entry to help process asylum seekers who are turning up between official crossing points.
Nielsen and other US officials say border patrol officers have been overwhelmed by a dramatic increase in asyl
um seekers, many of them children and families, fleeing violence and economic hardship in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.