President Trump on Friday threatened to close off the southern border completely and halt aid to Central American countries if congressional Democrats continue to refuse his demand of funding for a border wall.
“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!”
The federal government partially shut down on Saturday after funding ran out for several departments, including Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, State, Interior, Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security, and Justice.
Democrats and Republicans have been in gridlock the past few weeks over the $5 billion Trump is requesting in the new spending bill for border-wall construction, a proposal Democrats oppose and have refused to budge on. Democrats have capped the level of border-security funding that they will approve at $1.6 billion.
“It’s the only way we can get the Democrats’ attention,” said acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. “The discussions have broken down, we expect this to go on for a while, we expect to manage it.”
Trump also said that he plans to cut aid to several Central American countries over the caravans of migrants that have formed there and made their way to the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money. Word is that a new Caravan is forming in Honduras and they are doing nothing about it. We will be cutting off all aid to these 3 countries – taking advantage of U.S. for years!” Trump continued in another tweet.
The president’s warning also comes as the deaths of two migrant children, Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old girl, and Felipe Alonzo-Gomez, an 8-year-old boy, died in the custody of border patrol authorities this month.