Trump Issues Ultimatum To Mexico: Stop Illegal Immigration Or Border Will Close

This is not the first time the president has used the threat of closing the border for political leverage.

Asylum Seekers at border fence.
John Moore / Getty Images

This is not the first time the president has used the threat of closing the border for political leverage.

President Trump again threatened to close the southern border, doing so in a series of tweets on Friday morning.

This follows a Customs and Border Protection official’s report that border apprehension in March is on pace to exceed 100,000, the highest monthly total in a decade, according to Fox News.

The CBP is the largest federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security and is the country’s primary border control organization. They reported that this week alone, agents have more than 12,000 migrants in custody, including about 4,000 who were apprehended in a single day.

Kevin McAlleenan, who is the commissioner of the CBP, told Fox News that this week has marked the “breaking point” at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“CBP is facing an unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis.”

The president’s threat to close the border today, as seen in one of his Twitter posts, demanded Mexico to “immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States through our Southern Border.” It is unclear how Trump would proceed if Mexico were to not cooperate.

When the president threatened to close the border last December, Leon Fresco, an immigration lawyer, told The Washington Post that that is not legally possible.

“First, Trump can’t lawfully stop U.S. citizens from reentering the country from Mexico, so there’s no scenario in which the border could be closed off completely,” he said.

Refugees hold hands at border.
  John Moore / Getty Images

Fresco continued that it would prove difficult to stop foreigners from crossing legally with visas, as can be seen by the recent scrutiny over his travel ban on certain Muslim-majority countries. The ban is once again in jeopardy of being struck down, according to Politico.

Refugees seeking asylum at the border are at the epicenter of the current crisis. Fresco once again pointed to the legal entanglements of closing the border, citing a federal judge in Califonia’s recent ruling that struck down any efforts to restrict immigrants from the ability to request asylum.

Whether this is another bit of strategic maneuvering by the president to score political points or a serious ultimatum is yet to be seen.

Meanwhile, construction of the border wall is proceeding with federal funding, now that the president’s veto of Congress’ measure to stop his declaration of a national emergency survived an override from the House of Representatives.

CBS News reports the Army Corps of Engineers is currently surveying a 54-mile stretch of border wall in Yuma, Arizona, and El Paso, Texas, in order to replace barrier in those cities. This would mark the first series of projects to make use of the $1 billion in redirected counter-drug money following Trump’s national emergency declaration in February.

According to CBS, Trump is currently visiting a dike and inspecting the water infrastructure in Florida, and will also spend some time “relaxing” at his Mar-a-Lago resort this weekend.