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Trump delivers ultimatum to Congress: Immigration deal or border closure

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

On March 30, U.S. President Trump threatened to close the U.S. border with Mexico within a week if Mexico doesn't "immediately" step up its efforts to block immigrants attempting to enter the U.S. illegally.

At the Brownsville, Texas, border crossing past year, almost 800 trucks crossed the border each day, according to data from the Department of Transportation.

"We're watching it and looking for ways to allow the freight passage".

Despite the logistical and economic concerns, White House aides have said this week that Trump is serious about closing the border even if the timing remains unclear.

There was a scramble inside the White House on Monday over President Donald Trump's threat to shut down the southern border, three people familiar with what happened tell CNN.

"Sure, it's going to have a negative impact on the economy", Mr. Trump said, adding, "but security is most important".

Tomato prices were up 30 percent from a week earlier on Monday - roughly 60 percent of tomatoes consumed in the USA this time of year also come from Mexico.

"If you close the border, either I stay in Tijuana without work or I stay here without family", he said.

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His job will be different from that of the immigration or "border czar" that Trump is considering, the official said.

"We're going to have a strong border or we're going to have a closed border", he told reporters as he met NATO's secretary general.

The goal is to try to change the incentive structure that is drawing Central Americans to make the trip in record numbers through Mexico and to the U.S. Mr. Trump said Mexico needs to do more, but he added that the nation's southern neighbor has started arresting migrants in the thousands in the past few days.

Wait times at the border crossing at Brownsville, Texas, reached 180 minutes Monday, twice the peak a year ago, officials said. Sometimes he backs down at the last moment, and sometimes he follows through.

His call was backed by the Chamber of Commerce, which said in a statement that while it backed immigration reform, closing the border "would inflict severe economic harm on American families, workers, farmers and manufacturers across the United States".

Some of those parts are critical like seat belt anchors and engine components.

"Any action that stops commerce at the border would be harmful to the United States economy, and in particular, the auto industry".

President Trump doubled down Wednesday on his ultimatum that he will "close" the border unless Congress acts, brushing aside advice from his own team at the White House, from business groups and from members of Congress that it would be an economic catastrophe. That includes the speeding up of the surge of at least 750 officers to assist US Border Patrol along areas of the southern border and the immediate expansion of the department's policy of returning asylum-seekers to Mexico. Roughly 70-percent of the integral part are manufactured in Mexico, another 10-percent are manufactured further South and pass through the US-Mexico port of entrees. About 50% of vegetables and 40% of fruit imported to the US are grown in Mexico, according to U.S Department of Agriculture data. The U.S. also imports more agricultural goods from Mexico compared with any other country, with $11.5 billion in fresh fruit and vegetables brought into the U.S. each year.

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