One week after Trump told Mexico it had seven days to end all illegal immigration or he would close the border altogether, the president is backtracking a bit on his threat, now graciously granting the US’ southern neighbor an entire year to meet his superlative demands.
He also scaled down his rhetoric somewhat, saying that if drug trafficking was not stopped, or at least “largely stopped” in a year, he would introduce tariffs on the automotive industry – a demand considerably less severe than last week, when he said that “all trade” could be affected.
Despite assurances that Mexico could “easily” meet his broad demands, even members of Trump’s own party warned him of the catastrophe that could result from closing the busy southern border entirely. Texas Senator Ted Cruz told the president Wednesday that his state would be “devastated” by such a drastic measure, emphasizing that “millions” of jobs in the US depend on trade with Mexico.
Trump began issuing his ultimatums following announcements last week that the number of migrant detainees in the Texas border city of El Paso had reached crisis levels, stretching border enforcement resources to the breaking point. Mexico responded that threats would not force them to do anything and insisted that they have been the best neighbor the US could hope for.