POTUS TWEETS: Trump Threatens to Close Border in Response to Wave of Caravans

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that he would consider closing the United States’ southern border with Mexico if the latter failed to assist in deterring illegal immigration.

The President tweeted about the potential policy shift, calling for changes to the country’s immigration laws that have proved susceptible to recent “caravan” mass migration from Central American nations such as Honduras and Guatemala. Trump cancelled foreign aid payments to these countries on Saturday, and a federal closing of the border would appear to be the next step.

In spite of the President’s signature campaign policy of cracking down on illegal immigration, it appears that monthly levels of migrants crossing the U.S border have reached the highest levels in a decade. Officials with Customs and Border Patrol have stated that the agency is set to apprehend more than 100,000 people at the southern border in March- the highest levels in a single month since the George W. Bush administration.

The new wave of caravan and family-unit based illegal immigration from Central America is heavily enabled by American asylum laws. Migrants arriving in the United States from these countries have commonly been willing to turn themselves in the Border Patrol, requesting legal asylum protections and setting up often lengthy and costly battles in the U.S immigration court system. These migrants often arrive in large groups. 

The closure of the southern border could be a means to secure further cooperation from Mexico in deterring migrants from Central America from making the voyage to the United States. Cross-border commerce is a vital part of Mexico’s economy, and America’s southern neighbor might be willing to crack down on foreign migrants traveling through its territory if it faced the prospect of weakening an important trade relationship.

The border closure would take place sometime next week, per the President’s third tweet on the matter. Distressed communities and border security advocates will be watching closely with the hope he delivers on his pledge.