President Trump told reporters on Friday that unless Mexican authorities immediately halt all illegal immigration he will likely shut down America's southern border next week.
"I am not kidding around," he said. "We will close it for a long time."
Trump said the decision could include shutting down "all trade." Per The Associated Press, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that closing the border would be an "unmitigated economic debacle." The U.S. and Mexico exchange about $1.7 billion in goods every day, so if Trump follows through on his warnings there could be significant effects on both economies. It would also reportedly threaten five million American jobs.
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Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that closing ports of entry is "on the table" so that the U.S. can redeploy staff to help process parents and children, but stopped short of saying there would be a widespread shutdown.
"What we're doing is a very structured process based on operational needs," she said.
The State Department on Friday also began informing Congress that it intends to cease giving foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador as punishment for the migrant caravans that have formed in those countries before heading north. The New York Times reported that the decision to cut funding to the three countries would likely stir bipartisan anger in Congress, as both parties support the funding in the hopes that it will address root causes of the violence that has forced migrants to flee north.
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