Trump says build US-Mexico wall or he'll seal border

File: What do I know about branding, maybe nothing but I did become President, Trump wrote on Twitter.

File: What do I know about branding, maybe nothing but I did become President, Trump wrote on Twitter.

AFP

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump threatened to seal the US-Mexico border "entirely" if Congress does not approve billions of dollars in funding for a wall.

In a burst of early morning tweets, the president said the alternative to funding his controversial wall project would be total separation from Mexico -- including making US car companies pull out their factories based on the other side of the frontier.

The threat yet again upped the ante in a political row that has led to a partial shutdown of the US government and seems set to dominate the start to the third year of Trump's presidency.

"We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall," Trump tweeted.

Trump said he would then take US-Mexican relations back to the days before the NAFTA agreement opened free trade across Canada, Mexico and the United States.

That would "bring our car industry back into the United States where it belongs," he said.

In Mexico, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador sidestepped Trump's threat, telling journalists: "We don't want to be imprudent and we don't think we should get into this."

READ: Trump warns government shutdown could be lengthy

Trump wants $5-billion in funding for a wall along the more than 2,000-mile border, which he says is currently too porous to stop illegal immigration and which he claims has become a magnet for criminals, drugs and even terrorists.

Negotiations on lifting that partial government shutdown, perhaps by providing some border security funding, have sputtered out and no new debate is scheduled before next Wednesday.

Trump has consistently painted the asylum seekers and economic migrants in outlandish terms, raising the spectre of rapists, gang members and people with infectious diseases roaming freely across the border.

Trump has latched particularly on to what have become known as the "caravans" -- groups of several hundred or even more migrants who make epic treks across Central America and Mexico to try to reach the United States.

According to Trump, the "caravans" amount to organised attempts at invading the United States.

In one tweet Friday, Trump warned: "word is that a new Caravan is forming in Honduras and they are doing nothing about it."

As a result, he said, "we will be cutting off all aid" to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Source
AFP