By Agence France-Presse
Closing the US-Mexican border would “not be good for anyone,” Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez warned Wednesday, as his American counterpart, Donald Trump, kept up his threats to do just that.
The leftist leader made the comment after Trump tweeted there was a “national emergency” on the border and renewed his threat to close it partly or entirely — the latest jab in his fight to curb immigration and build his border wall.
“Closing the border would not be good for anyone. It’s not the most advisable” option, Lopez Obrador told a press conference.
He said, however, that his government had “very good communication” with the United States on the border and migration issues.
“We’re helping, and we’re going to continue helping to avoid a conflict … We’re going to try to defuse the tension,” he said.
Lopez Obrador, who took office in December, has sought to maintain a cordial relationship with Trump, despite their ideological differences.
Trump nevertheless returned last week to the Mexico-bashing of his 2016 election campaign, tweeting that the United States’s southern neighbors “just take our money and ‘talk'” and threatening to close the border.
He has struck a softer tone this week, praising Mexico for taking a “big step over the past two days” and detaining “large numbers” of irregular migrants from Central America trying to reach the United States.
That caused head-scratching in Mexico, where there has been no significant change in migration policy recently.
Lopez Obrador was happy to take the praise, however.
“I’m glad the United States government recognizes that we are helping,” he said.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Tuesday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told him the United States will not close the border, despite Trump’s threats.
Travelers and truckers coming from Mexico have, however, faced huge lines at the border since last week, caused by the Trump administration’s decision to reassign hundreds of border officers to deal with migrants.
Despite wait times of up to eight hours to cross the border — which handles $1.7 billion in goods and hundreds of thousands of people each day — Lopez Obrador downplayed the matter.
“There are no major problems” at border crossings, he said.