Border closure panic setting in - Sec. Nielsen called home from European meetings

Avocados

Trump administration officials are reining back the president's threat to shut the southern border this week as they grapple with a surge of Central American migrants trying to enter the U.S.

Last week, he said that closure could come as early as this week unless Mexico stopped people from crossing the border irregularly.

Trump has also been told by some advisers that it would be extremely hard to operationally shut down the border, but he has told them to move forward with looking at ways to achieve the feat.

"We are seeing our border patrol commissioner make it very clear that we are at a breaking point", she told newsmen at the White House. She said virtually all USA auto production relies on some key parts from Mexico or Central America, and these products are brought into the United States on trucks or trains.

Trump has also been told by some advisers that it would be extremely hard to operationally shut down the border but he has told them to move forward with looking at ways to achieve the feat.

The Council of Economic Advisers, she said, was conducting a number of studies on the impact, and "working with the president to give him those options".

Mexico also is the third-largest export market for USA agriculture and the largest for corn, pork and dairy products, according to the US trade representative.

The leftist leader made the comment after Trump tweeted there was a "national emergency" on the border and renewed his threat to close it partly or entirely - the latest jab in his fight to curb immigration and build his border wall.

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US President Donald Trump gestures during the National Republican Congressional Committee Annual Spring Dinner on April 2, 2019, in Washington, DC.

Senior US Department of Homeland Security officials said on Tuesday a recent redeployment of some 750 officers on the border to deal with a surge in migrants - mostly Central American families turning themselves into border agents - had already led to a slowing of legal crossings and commerce at ports of entry.

Wait times at the border crossing at Brownsville, Texas, reached 180 minutes Monday, twice the peak a year ago, officials said. He added that his posturing was "the only way we're getting a response". In Trump's mind, the closure is about leverage - forcing people to think he's about to do it, and just might do it, to get other concessions, current and former aides said.

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 United States economy, and in particular, the auto industry".

President Trump said last week he would seal the border with Mexico in the coming days if Mexico did not halt illegal immigration into the U.S. But Trump has so far refused to back down. "Now, if they don't, or if we don't make a deal with Congress, the border's going to be closed, 100%".

Americans previous year imported almost 2 billion pounds of avocados from Mexico alone, according to the Hass Avocado Board.

Five new pork packing plants opened in the U.S.in last few years, only to have export markets contract because of the trade wars, Monroe said.

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