Donald Trump on Thursday gave Mexico one year to stop drugs and illegal immigrants from coming into the United States, else he will either close the southern border or impose tariffs on vehicles coming into the U.S., NPR News is reporting. The announcement comes after days of threatening to close the southern border this week.
“We’re going to give them a one year warning, and if the drugs don’t stop, or largely stop, we’re going to put tariffs on Mexico and products, in particular cars. And if that doesn’t work, we’re going to close the border.”
Trump was short on specifics on exactly how Mexico could demonstrate to him that they’d sufficiently cut down immigrants and drugs, but as NBC News notes, he said that he wants Mexico to stop providing buses to migrant caravans. As Snopes notes, however, the claim that Mexico has provided buses for migrant caravans is “unproven” and based on “sketchy” reports. Trump, for his part, also claimed that Mexico hasn’t put migrants on buses for the past three days, because of his threats to close the southern border.
Trump was also unclear on which vehicles would be subject to tariffs, or what those tariffs would be.
The one-year warning comes after days of Trump threatening to close the border this week. Those threats come amid Trump’s battles with Congress over funding for his border wall. After having promised that Mexico would pay for the border wall, Trump instead asked Congress for billions of dollars to pay for the wall, an impasse that led to the December-January government shutdown. Trump then declared a national emergency to get funding for the border wall; that declaration is now tied up in the courts.
Trump’s threats to close the southern border were met with a lukewarm response even within his own party. As NPR News reported earlier this week, Congressional Republicans were joined by some business groups in warning that closing the southern border could bring with it catastrophic economic consequences. In addition to the tons of agricultural products, such as avocados and melons, that cross the border every day, there are auto parts assembled in Mexico. Without those parts, the U.S. auto industry would grind to a halt within a week, said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of the Center for Automotive Research in Michigan.
“We don’t just trade with each other. We’re making things together. Mexico is a source of 37 percent of all imported auto parts to the U.S. Every vehicle has Mexican parts in it.”