Tulsi Gabbard: Trump Isn’t Closing The Border Because He Cares About Safety

Sarah Sanders holds a news briefing at the White House

White House adviser, Mercedes Schlapp, who said progress was being made with Mexico on immigration issues, however, declined to comment on whether the border would be closed this week.

Trump hinted at a softening earlier in a Twitter post on Tuesday.

However, White House chief economist Larry Kudlow said they were working to minimize the economic impact from a closure of the border - including keeping truck lanes open.

One economist predicted this week that the entire U.S. auto industry would shut down within a week if the President closes the border, because every United States auto plant depends on parts made in Mexico.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in an appearance on MSNBC that closing only certain entry ports, or parts of all of them, could be among the steps short of closing the entire border.

The United States gets almost 90% of its avocado imports from Mexico, and one of America's biggest suppliers, Mission Produce, has warned that the U.S. could run out of the trendy toast-topper in just three weeks.

"We would be out of business for a while", Barnard said.

Trump had repeatedly threatened to close the border to stem what he calls a tide of illegal immigration.

Later Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen held an emergency call with Cabinet members and White House aides, saying, "We are going to treat it as if we have been hit by a Category 5 hurricane", according to a person on the call.

A group representing General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said in a statement that "any action that stops commerce at the border would be harmful to the USA economy, and in particular, the auto industry".

"Closing down the border would have a potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country and I would hope we would not be doing that sort of thing", McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.

"The building of vehicles requires 100 percent of the parts to be there", she said, adding that seat belts, engines, transmissions and wiring harnesses are all brought across the US border.

"Wait times in Brownsville (Texas) were around 180 minutes, which were two times the peaks of a year ago", said a senior DHS official on a call with reporters.

"I don't think it's likely that Mexico comes up with anything tangible that actually satisfies or solves any of the problems that we allegedly have on the border".

"We ended the day yesterday at Otay Mesa (California) with a backup of 150 trucks that hadn't been processed", the official said.

"People are getting a plan in place so if he orders it done, it's not the end of the world", the official said. "This is a president with a wife who is an immigrant telling us that we have weak immigration laws because our laws require years of processing years of courts, years of hearings and investigations to vet people before allowing them to stay permanently in the United States", he said.

And DHS officials said border crossing times were already lengthening as they divert staff to areas between official ports to deal with tens of thousands of migrant families crossing illegally into the country.

The U.S. president has also instructed the State Department to cut off all direct assistance to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala - where numerous migrants come from.

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