Trump Threatens to Close the Border. Again.

This time there’s a date.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

President Donald Trump is, once again, threatening to shut down the southern border. It is at least the seventh time he has done so on Twitter since October.

But for the first time, Trump is getting specific. He tweeted on Friday morning that he will close the border “next week” if “Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration.” There’s no way Mexico can stop all migrants from traveling north, so Trump will either have to back down again or make good on this threat.

Trump had tweeted on Thursday that he “may” close the border. Lou Dobbs, an informal adviser to Trump, used his show that night on the Fox Business Network to encourage Trump to close the border. Also on Thursday night, Rush Limbaugh appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox show to urge Trump to shut down the border, claiming that he’d be sure to win reelection if he did so. Trump introduced the new timeline for shutting down the border the next morning.

Closing the border would presumably mean shutting down all the official border crossings between Mexico and the United States. But that would do nothing to address the current issue facing border officials: a record number of families crossing between these ports of entry to request protection under US asylum law. Trump tried to stop that from happening in November by banning people from receiving asylum if they crossed the border between ports of entry, but the move, which flouts the plain text of asylum law, was blocked in court.

Asked about Trump’s latest threat on Friday, a senior Department of Homeland Security official mentioned DHS’s previously announced plan to pull some Customs and Border Protection officers from officials ports of entry to assist Border Patrol agents. “I think what the president is making clear is…if we have to close ports to take care of all of the numbers who are coming, we will do that,” the official said. “So, it’s on the table.” The official added, “Right now, our hope is that in working with Mexico and in reallocating resources between the ports that we can start to stem the flow.”

When asked what specifically the Trump administration wants Mexico to do, the official said DHS has “walked through a whole variety of things that they can to do to increase enforcement” such as changing the c0untry’s visa policies. None of those changes will have made much, if any, difference by next week.

Friday is not the first time that Trump has described closing the border as a way of punishing Mexico. In October, Trump took to Twitter to ask Mexico “in the strongest of terms…to stop this onslaught” of migration, adding that he would close the border if it didn’t. The number of migrants crossing the border since then has surged, and the border has remained open. 

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate