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Trump eases up on threat to shut down U.S.-Mexico border this week

McConnell warns of border shutdown impact
McConnell warns of economic impact if Trump closes the border 02:25

Last week, President Trump threatened to shut down the border this week if Mexico didn't "immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States."

This week, he's dialing that threat down a notch. On Tuesday, the president said Mexico is doing much more to help with the crisis at the border, even as Mexico's foreign minister says they're enforcing immigration laws like they always have. Mr. Trump said he's still ready to shut down the border at any point, but backed off on a timeline. 

"Well, I haven't made that intention known," the president said, asked during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg if he's closing the border this week. 

"I'm ready to close it. If I have to close it, Mexico, as you know, as of yesterday, has been starting to apprehend a lot of people at their southern border coming in from Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador. And they're really apprehending thousands of people. And it's the first time really in decades that this is taking place and this should have taken place a long time ago."

And White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday there is no timeline for shutting down the border. 

On Wednesday, the president turned to Congress, saying if the legislative branch doesn't take immediate action to close "loopholes" governing immigration, he will close all or parts of the border. 

"Congress must get together and immediately eliminate the loopholes at the Border! If no action, Border, or large sections of Border, will close. This is a National Emergency!" the president tweeted Wednesday morning. 

The Trump administration has been looking for ways to mitigate the economic impact of closing the border, even as the president told reporters this week border security is more important than trade. 

"We're watching it and looking for ways to allow the freight passage," top Trump White House adviser Larry Kudlow said on CNBC Tuesday. "Some people call it truck roads and there are ways you can do that, which would ameliorate the breakdown in supply chains."

"The president's positions on border security are well known," Kudlow continued. "I support them fully the numbers, hundreds of thousands of immigrants every month. It's crazy. The question is, can we deal with that and not have any economic damage? I think the answer is we can and people are looking at different options, particularly, if you can keep those freight lanes, those truck lanes open."

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