President Donald Trump on Thursday threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border, complaining that Mexico and several Central American countries were not doing enough to prevent the wave of migrants flooding north towards the U.S., an influx that border officials say is straining their resources.
“Mexico is doing NOTHING to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants to our Country. They are all talk and no action,” Trump tweeted.
“Likewise, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have taken our money for years, and do Nothing. The Dems don’t care, such BAD laws. May close the Southern Border!”
The president’s threat and his renewed gripes about Mexico and so-called Northern Triangle governments come as the number of migrant families arrested at the border soared this month, putting immigration officials at what U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan called a “breaking point.”
McAleenan postponed an appearance before Congress on Wednesday to travel to the border, where he said the Border Patrol is on pace to arrest more than 55,000 family members in the month of March, a more than 500 percent increase over 2018 arrest levels.
Trump has previously accused Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador of misusing U.S. aid meant to improving conditions on the ground, aid intended to prevent migrants from wanting to come to the U.S. in the first place. In December, the president threatened to cut that aid off altogether.
MMH reported earlier this week that confusion over Trump’s tweets has created a logjam in the White House budget office, preventing that aid money from being dispersed.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen traveled to Honduras on Wednesday to address the issue, meeting with Northern Triangle government leaders. There, Nielsen announced what she called “a HISTORIC agreement to confront the root causes of the crisis on our border.”
“Working with Central American govts to increase security & prosperity in the region has been one of my greatest priorities,” she said in a tweet, though she did not go into any further detail.
Trump’s complaints also come amid the fight over his declared national emergency over border security, which is set to stand after Congress failed to override his veto on their effort to block the declaration. He’s sought to shift billions of dollars from the Pentagon’s budget toward his efforts to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, a cornerstone promise of his 2016 presidential campaign.