Trump has threatened to shut down all or “large portions” of the US-Mexico border “next week” if Mexico doesn’t stop the migrants coming into the U.S. from Central America, according to Vox.
While Mexico is working on stopping immigrants, it would not be possible for them to keep all unauthorized migrants from getting into the U.S. If Trump is true to his word, then the border will be closed next week.
Yet, Trump cannot physically stop people from crossing into the U.S illegally. What he can do is shut down ports of entry, which would prevent people or goods from entering the country legally.
On Friday, a Trump administration official said that border agents are currently being moved from ports of entry to care for those apprehended between ports of entry. This move would reduce the capacity at the ports. If the number of illegal immigrants continues to increase without giving the DHS additional resources, closure of some ports would indeed be “on the table,” according to the official. Still, the official sees port closure as a last resort.
Trump’s problem with immigrants isn’t that they evade capture- immigrants often seek out border control agents and turn themselves in. The issue is that they can’t be deported fast enough. Immigrants can’t be immediately deported if they claim that they fear returning to their country. Children traveling without parents are sent to HHS and placed with sponsors during their case hearings and families cannot be easily detained during their cases either. Still, no administration official can stop people from claiming asylum when they reach U.S. soil.
The only thing Trump could possibly do to “shut down” the border would be to shut down the ports, which would halt legal entry. The senior administration said that this wasn’t what Trump meant when he spoke about shutting down the border. Trump also wasn’t committing to shut down the border next week. Trump’s words were simply a warning that if the flow of illegal migration continues, ports would be shut down as a last resort.
Shutting down entry ports would be disastrous economically, as approximately $1.5 billion worth of commerce happens along the border daily. In Texas ports alone, almost half a million people cross the border legally every day. More, making it difficult for people to cross the border legally will only incentivize people to cross the border illegally.