Apparently feeling high on the belief that he has been exonerated from special counsel Mueller’s report of a possible collusion with the Russian government, US president Donald Trump stirs up another controversy. At a rally held in Michigan on last Thursday (March 28, 2019),and in a brief press conference in Mar-a-Lago, in Florida last Friday, Trump reiterated his signature campaign promise of closing the US Border to prevent migrating asylum seekers from coming in.
Trump’s announcement actually came as a threat directed at the Mexican government. He accuses Mexico of not doing anything to stop the unending flow of refugees arriving at the border, coming from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Naturally, his threat drew negative reactions, more so when he followed up his threat with tweets that he will make good on that threat this week.
Does Trump Really Have the Power to Close the US Mexico Border?
If Trump insists on imposing such action, he will do so at the risk of violating immigration laws that forbid anyone to deny protection to people seeking sanctuary in the country, regardless of the manner with which they gained entry. It can be recalled that Trump previously attempted to suppress the entry of a massive number of immigrants arriving at the border by invoking national security rules. However, Judge Jon S. Tigar of the San Francisco District Court placed a restraining order on Trump’s planned action.
Closing the border therefore, and specifically for that purpose is in defiance of immigration laws and of the judge’s order as well.
Trump is Using Border Wall Closing as Excuse to Carry Out Another Tactic
A senior Trump administration officer explained by way of telephone interview with Dara Lind of Vox, is that what the president had actually meant was to control the flow of people coming in by closing official ports of entry at the border. Although the senior administration officer added that closing of port entries is a last resort, border agents are currently being moved to the border areas to àttend to the refugees apprehended.
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney explicitly stated
”we need the people from the ports of entry to go out and patrol in the desert where we don’t have a wall”
As a result, reduced number of border agents manning the ports of entry has already slowed down flow of traffic. Business communities at El Paso are already apprehensive about the long- waits occurring at the ports. San Diego, does not want a repeat of the November 2018 temporary shutdown of the San Ysidro port of entry. Even if the border agents were deployed only for a few hours to respond with force against an organized group of asylum seekers, the temporary closure resulted to the loss of $5.3 million in business revenues.
What Trump wants to happen is to discourage American companies from moving operations to Mexico, using it as leverage for Mexico to act on the asylum seekers making their way to the US border. To Trump, he considers it as the price Mexico has to pay. Yet, he seems to disregard the fact that an estimated $1.5 billion worth of business transpires daily along the US Mexico border, as millions of people legally cross the border as part of their daily routine.