President Donald Trump threatened on Friday to close the southern U.S. border with Mexico unless he gets the money he wants for a wall, raising the stakes in a standoff that will present an immediate test next week for the new U.S. Congress.
When Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats take control of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, they plan to quickly approve a spending measure meant to end a partial government shutdown that began on Dec. 22, triggered by Trump’s demand for $5 billion in funding for his proposed wall.
Democrats have made clear that the House measure, which would then have to go to the Republican-controlled Senate, will not include $5 billion Trump says is needed for the wall, a central part of his tougher positions on immigration than his predecessors.
“Democrats are united against the president’s immoral, ineffective and expensive wall … that he specifically promised that Mexico would pay for,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said in a statement, referring to a Trump 2016 presidential campaign pledge.
Trump has previously threatened to close the border to prevent Central American immigrants reaching the United States. Asked about Trump’s threat on Friday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters it was an internal U.S. government matter.