New York: The US-Mexico border will be closed if illegal crossings are not stopped completely, US President Donald Trump recently threatened.
"If Mexico doesn't immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States throug (sic) our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING the Border, or large sections of the Border, next week," he tweeted.
"This would be so easy for Mexico to do, but they just take our money and “talk”, Trump claimed. "Besides, we lose so much money with them, especially when you add in drug trafficking etc.), that the Border closing would be a good thing!"
The threat comes after tension with Mexico rose over illegal border crossings, with Trump accusing Mexico of failing to stop illegal immigrants from entering the US.
"Mexico is doing NOTHING to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants to our Country. They are all talk and no action," Trump said over the weekend.
"Likewise, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have taken our money for years, and do Nothing."
Mexico's President responded, saying he did not want a confrontation with the US.
"We do not want to confront the United States Government. We will maintain a respectful position with the United States Government & with Donald Trump,” said Andres Manuel Lopes Obrador.
The dispute follows a recent announcement by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency that the country's southwest border was facing a humanitarian crisis.
Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told reporters on Thursday, "CBP is facing an unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis all along our Southwest border. And nowhere has that crisis manifested more acutely than here in El Paso.
"On Monday and Tuesday, CBP started the day with over 12,000 migrants in our custody. As of this morning, that number was 13,400. A high number for us is 4,000. A crisis level is 6,000. 13,000 is unprecedented."
He added, "On Monday, we saw the highest total of apprehensions and encounters in over a decade, with 4,000 migrants either apprehended or encountered at Ports of Entry in a single day.
"Yesterday, we broke the record again with 4,117. We are now on pace for over 100,000 apprehensions and encounters with migrants in March, with 90 percent of those, 90,000 people, crossing the border illegally between Ports of Entry."
According to the Commissioner, in March 2019 the CBP is expected to see over 55,000 family units. In March 2017, the number of total crossings was 16,794.
The dispute and Trump's deadline marks a low point in the relationship between the two neighbors.
In what could be a sign of Mexico toughening stance on Trump, the country's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, said, "Mexico does not act on the basis of threats. We are a great neighbor. If not then why a million and a half Americans choose our country as a home, the largest community of that origin outside the US. For them we are also the best neighbor they could have."