Workers and students who frequently cross the U.S. border with Mexico worried over the weekend about the impact on their lives if President Donald Trump follows through on a threat to shut entry points used by hundreds of thousands of people every day.
Faced with a surge of asylum seekers from Central American countries who travel through Mexico, Trump said on Friday that there was a “good likelihood” he would close the border this coming week if Mexico does not stop unauthorized immigrants from reaching the United States.
Shutting the southern frontier completely would disrupt billions of dollars in trade and millions of legal border crossings, including those made by U.S. citizen Andrea Torres.
The 22-year-old student spends weekdays with her aunt in El Paso, where she attends the local campus of the University of Texas, and weekends with her mother in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
On the border bridge linking the two cities, so many students cross every day that authorities have assigned them their own pedestrian lane.
“Right now, it’s better for me to stay in El Paso because I need to finish school,” Torres, who is studying art history, said on Friday as she headed to Juarez for the weekend.
That would mean missing her mom. “It would be really hard,” Torres said. “I’m really close to her.”
Gerardo Pozas, a 38-year-old mechanic, moved to El Paso from Juarez in 1997 to attend high school and later became a U.S. citizen. He has always retained strong ties with his birthplace. He worried what he would do if Trump closed the border.
“My family, my church and my girlfriend are (in Juarez). I wouldn’t be able to go,” Pozas said. “But if I stay there, in Ciudad Juarez, I wouldn’t be able to come to my house.”
Department of Homeland Security officials had already warned traffic with Mexico could slow as the agency shifts personnel from ports of entry to help process asylum seekers.
Delays were already being felt on Friday, with waiting times longer than usual on the Mexican side of the crossing between Juarez and El Paso, and hours-long lines for trucks carrying goods from Mexican factories into the United States.
Trade between the United States and its third-largest trading partner totaled $612 billion last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Trump, who launched his presidential campaign in 2015 with a promise to crack down on illegal immigration, has repeatedly threatened to close the border during his two years in office but has not followed through.
Mexico has played down the possibility of a border shutdown. On Friday its foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said the country does not act on the basis of threats.
‘Alarming gibberish’: Trump mocked for raging impotently against Fed chair and China
President Donald Trump attacked his own Federal Reserve chairman as an "enemy" of the United States amid his escalating trade war with China -- and other social media users were flabbergasted.
Fed chairman Jerome Powell refused to budge on interest rates, despite heavy pressure by the president in the face of a looming recession, and China retaliated against the tariffs Trump imposed with a new round of their own.
Trump lashed out at Powell, whose name he misspelled, and compared him unfavorably to Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
A look inside the Koch brothers’ secret plan to manipulate politicians — and how it fueled the rise of the radical right
Democrats and Republicans are expected to spend about $1 billion getting their 2016 nominee elected. There’s a third group that will spend almost as much. It’s not a political party, and it doesn’t have any candidates. It’s the right-wing political network backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David Koch, expected to spend nearly $900 million in 2016. The Kochs’ 2016 plans come as part of an effort to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to conservative candidates and causes over the last four decades. The story of the Koch brothers and an allied group of billionaire donors is told in a new book by New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer, “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.” Mayer traces how the Kochs and other billionaires have leveraged their business empires to shape the political system in the mold of their right-wing agenda.
New video emerges of Trump blurting out anti-Semitic slurs
President Donald Trump this week said that the majority of American Jews were "disloyal" to Israel because they support the Democratic Party -- but that's far from the first time that the president has made controversial statements that deploy anti-Semitic tropes.
The Washington Post has obtained a video clip from 2011 that shows Trump boasting about how great one of his golf courses is before saying that "even these spoiled, rich Jewish guys, they can’t believe how good this [course] is."
The clip was originally aired on the Golf Channel for the show "Donald J. Trump's Fabulous World of Golf."