Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard posted to Twitter on Friday that Mexico “does not act on the basis of threats,” after President Donald Trump threatened to close large portions of the southern border if Mexico did not do something to stop illegal immigration.
Earlier Friday, Trump told reporters he was “not playing games” and said he would shut down the border “for a long time” if Mexico did not act on immigrants entering the U.S. illegally, ABC News reported.
“Mexico’s tough. They can stop them, but they chose not to. Now they’re going to stop them. If they don’t stop them, we’re closing the border,” Trump reportedly told journalists.
Trump did not elaborate on how he would close the border.
Trump also addressed the border issue in a series of tweets on Friday, suggesting that Mexican and Central American governments have done “nothing” to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the border.
CNBC reported that White House spokesman Hogan Gidley did not have an announcement regarding Trump’s remarks, but he did say that the president “has got to do something to fix it and he’s looking at all his options.”
U.S. border authorities estimated as many as 1 million illegal immigrants will be stopped from attempting to enter the country by the end of the year, which is double the amount that entered last year, according to ABC News. Authorities arrested 66,450 people along the Mexican border in February, The Associated Press reported. That number is up 149 percent from last year. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is expected to make 100,000 arrests in March, which is up 30 percent from February, according to CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.
McAleenan also said that the agency had reached a breaking point and was facing “an unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis.”
On Thursday, Ebrard tweeted that Mexico would act responsibility on the subject.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador acknowledged on Thursday that there was a problem with migrants coming north “because there are no options, no alternatives in Central America,” according to The Associated Press. He said that Mexico was doing everything it could to help, adding that his country did not want a confrontation with the U.S.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is facing another surge of Central American families seeking asylum, Time magazine reported. Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero estimated that there could be 20,000 people attempting to cross the border, calling it “the mother of all caravans.”