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White House 'looking into' economic impact of closing border, economic adviser says

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Trump cuts aid to Central American countries as migrant crisis deepens

She also directed CBP to enforce an initiative, which requires migrants to stay in Mexico until an immigration court reviews their asylum claims.

Although the deadline was new, Trump has threatened to shut down the southern border before. Mexico is the third-largest trading partner of the United States, with more than $611 billion in cross-border trade a year ago, according to the Commerce Department.

"I think the impact would be absolutely devastating on so many fronts", said Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Alejandra Mier y Teran while speaking to reporters from the AP. In the meantime, he has repeatedly threatened to close the border, but this time, with a new surge of migrants heading north, he gave a definite timetable. The winter produce season is especially heavy right now, with the import of Mexican-grown watermelons, grapes and squash, said Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.

Mr Trump has so far been unable to convince Congress to tighten asylum laws or fund his border wall.

Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Monday that his state must be prudent and be a good neighbour of the United States adding that it was important to regulate the flow of illegal migrants.

He noted that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants to redeploy up to 2,000 CBP officers from ports of entry to sectors along the border to assist Border Patrol agents.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a hopeful Democratic presidential candidate for the 2020 election, has called for immigration reform in the wake of a "terrible humanitarian crisis". "So we're looking to cutting off aid and closing the border".

Border officials are also planning to more than quadruple the number of asylum seekers sent back over the border to wait out their immigration cases, said an administration official. This has overwhelmed the system. The current waiting period is years long.

The Mexican government has created a controversial program to appease the Trump administration, allowing migrants to live and work in the country while they wait for the United States to process their claims.

"It would have a widespread and dramatic impact on our markets nearly immediately", said an executive at a company that ships products by rail to Mexico, citing its dependence on USA natural gas, propane, gasoline and ultra-low-sulphur diesel fuel.

The president, who also cut United States aid to three Central American nations whose citizens are fleeing north, emphasised "I am not kidding around" about closing the border, even though such a severe move could hit the economies of both countries.

The US government says it is struggling to deal with a surge of asylum seekers from countries in Central America who travel through Mexico.

On Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that, at the president's direction, the State Department was ending its foreign assistance programs for the three Central American countries for 2017 and 2018.

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