December 28, 2018 10:24 am
Updated: December 28, 2018 10:23 pm

Trump threatens to close southern border, ‘go back to pre-NAFTA’ without wall funding

WATCH: U.S. President Donald Trump threatened Friday to close the southern border unless Democrats give them the money they need to build the border wall, with many expecting the partial government shutdown to likely continue into 2019.

A A

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to close the country’s border with Mexico and hinted at cancelling the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on Friday morning, in a series of tweets demanding funding for his border wall.

The president blasted the “Obstructionist” Democrats early Friday, less than a week before the rival party takes a majority of seats in the House of Representatives. The shift in Congress will make it much more difficult for Trump to secure the US$5 billion he’s demanding to build the border wall which he originally promised would be paid for by Mexico.

READ MORE: Democrats poised to take over House amid U.S. government shutdown

WATCH BELOW: Migrant families continue to spill over Tijuana border fence, head to U.S.

“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with,” Trump tweeted.

The current Republican-majority Congress failed to pass a spending bill that included $5.7 billion for Trump’s wall last week, triggering a partial government shutdown. The outgoing Republican-majority House passed the bill, but it failed in the Republican-held Senate.

WATCH BELOW: Failed spending bill sends U.S. government into shutdown mode


Story continues below

Trump has repeatedly claimed the border wall is necessary to stop illegal immigration. However, he appeared to put the USMCA/CUSMA, his newly-negotiated NAFTA replacement deal, on the line Friday with his threats to close the border, saying it would be a “profit making operation” to reduce the trade deficit with Mexico.

“The United States looses (sic) soooo much money on Trade with Mexico under NAFTA, over 75 Billion Dollars a year (not including Drug Money which would be many times that amount),” he tweeted.

READ MORE: Donald Trump’s wall will be more like 550 miles, not all 2,000 miles of U.S.-Mexico border, he says

The U.S. goods deficit with Mexico was $71 billion in 2017 and $67 billion through the first 10 months of this year, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The president suggested closing the border would allow the U.S. to “go back to pre-NAFTA, before so many of our companies and jobs were so foolishly sent to Mexico.” He also claimed it would allow the U.S. to bring back more jobs in the auto industry.

Trump has already put his stamp on North American trade relations by forcing Canada and Mexico to renegotiate NAFTA. Leaders from all three countries signed the replacement deal on Nov. 30, after more than a year of tough negotiations.

WATCH BELOW: Canada, U.S. and Mexico sign NAFTA 2.0 deal

The tentative deal sets new rules for the auto industry aimed at keeping production in North America. It also requires 40 per cent of car parts to be made by workers earning $16 an hour – a higher wage than most Mexican auto sector employees earn.

WATCH: Trump threatens to shut down southern border over wall funds

The new deal, also known as NAFTA 2.0, must be passed by the new U.S. Congress before it can come into effect.

READ MORE: New NAFTA is now signed, but nobody knows what to call it

Trump continued his Twitter rant on Friday with another threat to cut off foreign aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador – the three countries from which many migrants have fled to reach the U.S.

“Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money,” he said.

The U.S. government shutdown entered its seventh day on Friday, with Trump blaming the Democrats for the impasse.

WATCH BELOW: White House calls death of migrant boy a ‘tragedy,’ slams Democrats over border security

The president previously said he would proudly take credit for the shutdown in the name of border security.

“I am proud to shut down the government for border security,” Trump told Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer during a combative photo-op at the White House on Dec. 11. “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”

WATCH BELOW: Trump says he will own government shutdown

—With files from The Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.