Donald Trump doubles down on border closure threat
President Trump doubled down Wednesday on his ultimatum that he will “close” the border unless Congress acts, brushing aside advice from his own team at the White House, from business groups and from members of Congress that it would be an economic catastrophe.
“Congress must get together and immediately eliminate the loopholes at the Border!” the president said on Twitter. “If no action, Border, or large sections of Border, will close. This is a National Emergency!”
Mr. Trump has not said exactly what he has in mind by closing the border but Homeland Security officials say they have had plans for years for shutting down ports of entry.
Mr. Trump initially aimed his ire over the border situation at Mexico, saying he would shut things down unless America’s southern neighbor began to do more to stop the surge of migrants from Central America traversing its territory en route to the U.S.
But on Tuesday, the president said it was Congress that now has his eye. He said lawmakers must work on new laws to change the incentive structure that draws the flow of people from Central America.
Those incentives include virtual assurances that families who arrive at the border and demand asylum will be admitted into the U.S. and given court dates years in the future, giving them a chance to disappear into the shadows.
Few will actually win asylum. But most are never ousted.
Homeland Security officials have said that of the families that arrived in 2017, 98 percent were still in the U.S. at the beginning of this year.