Donald Trump repeated his unwelcoming message to those seeking political asylum in the United States: Don’t bother.
“Our country is full,” Trump said at an event in Calexico, Calif., to develop construction of a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. “Our area is full. The sector is full. Can’t take you anymore, I’m sorry. Can’t happen. So turn around, that’s the way it is.”
Trump explained his remarks as “our new statement,” and said it applied to asylum seekers as well as immigrants crossing the border illegally.
“If you look at our southern border, the number of people and the amount of drugs, human trafficking — the human trafficking is something that nobody used to talk about, I talk about it. It’s a terrible thing. It’s ancient and it’s never been bigger than it is modern, right now, today. All over the world, by the way, not just here. All over the world, human trafficking, a terrible thing.”
According to figures provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials the number of people arrested for illegally crossing the border rose from 47,986 in January to 66,450 in February. Families, many traveling from Central American countries, made up more than half of those numbers, CBP said.
“It’s a colossal surge,” Trump said of the migrant caravans from Central America, “and it’s overwhelming our immigration system. We can’t take you anymore.”
. Then the president issued another warning. “If for any reason Mexico stops apprehending and bringing the illegals back to where they came from, the U.S. will be forced to tariff at 25 percent all cars made in Mexico and shipped over the border to us. If that doesn’t work, I will close the border,” Trump promised.
Trump had backed off from that threat earlier in the week after lawmakers from both parties threw cold water on the idea.
“Closing down the border would have potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country, and I would hope we would not be doing that,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned.