(Image source from: DNA India)
President Donald Trump on Friday paid a visit to the United States-Mexico border, following a week of confusing comments over whether he would shut it down.
On Friday afternoon, the President stopped in Calexico, California, to tour replacement border barrier and take part in a border security roundtable.
According to the Arizona Republic, the two-mile stretch replacement barrier he will see was authorized prior to when he came into office, but a plaque on the bollards calls it “the first section of President Trump’s border wall.”
During the roundtable, Trump said the immigration system is full, regardless of whether the individuals seeking to come into the U.S. are seeking asylum or not, CNN reported.
“The system is full. We can’t take you anymore. Whether it’s an asylum. Whether it’s anything you want. It’s illegal immigration,” Trump said. “Can’t take you anymore … I’m sorry. So turn around. That’s the way it is.” He also repeated his claim asylum seekers were perpetrating a hoax on the U.S. “They have lawyers greeting them. They read what the lawyer tells them to read. They’re gang members and they say ‘I fear for my life,'” he said.
“They’re the ones who are causing fear for life. It’s a scam, OK? It’s a scam. It’s a hoax. I know about hoaxes. I just went through a hoax,” Trump said to laughter in the room. “So our system is full. We’re not taking them anymore.”
The visit follows a series of threats Trump made calling for Mexico and Congress to shape up or face the closure of the southern border.
The initial threat Trump issued last week was that he would close down the southern border within a week if Mexico didn’t increase migrant apprehensions on its southern border, where Central American migrants seeking to move northward may ultimately try to illegally enter the U.S.
In addition, Trump said he would give Mexico a one-year warning and potentially implement a 25 percent auto tariff if the country didn’t stop the flow of illicit drugs being smuggled into the U.S.
The tariffs, he suggested, would make a border closure unnecessary. “I don’t think we’ll ever have to close the border because the penalty of tariffs on cars coming into the United States from Mexico, at 25 percent, will be massive.” Despite the clear pivot, Trump said on Friday ahead of his California departure that he “never changed his mind” about his threat to close the southern border. “I never changed my mind at all. I may shut it down at some point, but I’d rather do tariffs,” Trump told reporters.
“The tariffs will work just like they’ve worked with steel,” he said. The auto tariff, he added, “supersedes” the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade.
The President also said he’s “looking at an economic penalty on all the drugs that are coming in through the southern border and killing our people.”
Trump, during Friday’s roundtable on the border, called his one-year warning on a southern U.S. border closure “fake news.”
By Sowmya Sangam