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Photo: Cedar Attanasio, AP
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and immigration (all times local):
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says in an emergency call with Cabinet members and White House aides that the administration will treat U.S.-Mexico border issues “as if we have been hit by a Category 5 hurricane.”
That’s according to a person who was on the conference call. The person was not authorized to discuss the call publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The person says the Department of Homeland Security is standing up an emergency operations center not unlike when there is a major natural disaster.
Nielsen named longtime U.S. Border Patrol Sector Chief Manny Padilla as a crisis coordinator who will manage efforts within the department’s different immigration agencies.
Padilla’s job will be different from the immigration or “border czar” that Trump is considering.
Officials say an influx of Central American migrants is overwhelming border facilities.
—By Colleen Long
Senate Majority Leader McConnell says closing the U.S. border as President Donald Trump has threatened would have a “potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country.”
The Kentucky Republican told reporters on Tuesday that he hopes Trump won’t take that action. Trump last week said he’d seal the border in the coming days if Mexico did not immediately halt all illegal immigration into the United States. On Tuesday, the president said he’ll take a wait-and-see approach.
That’s good, McConnell suggested.
“Closing down the border would have a potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country,” he said, adding, “I would hope we would not be doing that.”
A closure would have enormous economic consequences for Mexico and the United States. Trump has threatened to close the border before but not acted on the threat.
President Donald Trump says he is taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to his threat to close the southern border as soon as this week.
Trump is telling reporters as he meets with NATO’s secretary general that he’s pleased with steps that Mexico has taken in recent days and that, “We’re going to see what happens.”
But he says that he’s “ready to close it” if he has to and will do so if Mexico stops helping or if he fails to reach a deal with Congress to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws.”
Trump is bemoaning current regulations and says: “We’re going to have a strong border or we’re going to have a closed border.”
Trump administration officials are pulling back the president’s threat to shut the southern border as soon as this week.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday the administration is “looking at all options” on whether to close entry ports and what the impact would be.
Last week, Trump said he’d close the border as the number of migrants coming to the U.S. has surged. He’s threatened that before.
Delays at entry points are already mounting. That’s because as many as 2,000 border officers assigned to check trucks and cars are being shifted to deal with migrant crowds. Wait times at Brownsville, Texas, were 180 minutes Monday, double the wait last year. And there were 150 trucks in Otay Mesa, California, still waiting when the border station closed for the day.