While speaking to reporters from the White House, Trump stated that instead of shutting down the southern border, he is offering Mexico a "one-year warning" to halt the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs into the United States. The president continued by threatening to impose auto tariffs on Mexico if he believes the country is not doing enough to address the aforementioned threats during the trial period.
"The only thing, frankly, better and less drastic than closing the border is tariff the cars coming in, and I will do it," the president explained. "If the drugs don’t stop or aren’t largely stopped, we’re going to put tariffs on Mexico and products, in particular cars — the whole ballgame is cars. And if that doesn’t stop the drugs, we close the border."
The president's initial announcement came in the form of a tweet, in which he called on Mexico to put an end to the undocumented persons and illegal substances crossing into the United States, or he would be "CLOSING the Border." The president echoed his earlier threat during a Q&A he held with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, during which he told reporters that securty takes precedence over trade.
However, Republicans and Democrats in Congress warned the president of the grave economic consequences that would likely result from a border closure. Despite Trump's targeted efforts to alienate Mexico, $1.7 billion worth of goods and services are transported across the U.S.-Mexico border every day, in addition to a half-million individuals who legally cross the border daily.
The president positioned the "crisis" of illegal immigration at the epicenter of his campaign and his administration. After he was unable to secure the $5 billion funding needed for his border wall, the president declared a national emergency in an effort to circumvent Congress.
Both chambers passed a measure to reverse the declaration, which the president unsurprisingly vetoed. In a move that many have called unconstitutional, Trump is now facing legal opposition from House Democrats who are suing the president for overstepping the parameters of executive power and declaring a national emergency. "The House will once again defend our Democracy and our Constitution, this time in the courts," Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Thursday.
The president will be traveling to California on Friday to preview a portion of the border wall that's currently being developed.