(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump threatened anew to shut down a portion of the southern border on Wednesday after reports that a group of Central Americans traveling north had been partially detained by Mexican officials.
“Mexico must apprehend the remainder or we will be forced to close that section of the Border & call up the Military,” Trump tweeted early Wednesday morning.
The president has threatened to close the southern border or portions of it before. It’s also not the first time he’s placed the responsibility on Mexico to do more to stop people in so-called “caravans” — large groups of migrants traveling north together and largely reported to be mostly women and children from Central America seeking refugee — from arriving at the U.S. border.
Trump largely backed off his most recent calls to close the southern border in early April, instead giving Mexico a one-year warning to apprehend more Central American migrants. At the time, Senate Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, publicly warned the president against acting on his threat. Closing the border would have a “potentially catastrophic economic impact,” McConnell warned.
While shutting down U.S. border crossings would not stop the vast majority of unauthorized arrivals, who mostly cross illegally between border stations, it would halt the flow of trade between the U.S. and Mexico, which totaled $611 billion in 2018, or $1.67 billion per day. More than 40 percent of all fruits and vegetables brought into the U.S. come from Mexico, for example, according to data from the Department of Agriculture.
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