US President Donald Trump continued to pressure the Democrats in the US Senate to approve the funding for the construction of the border wall, as well as amendments to immigration law, on 28 December on Twitter, threatening to close the entire southern border otherwise.
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. Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2018
The president justified the border closure by stating that the US loses a lot of money in trade with Mexico under NAFTA, which will be soon replaced by a new trilateral deal between the NAFTA states.
….The United States looses 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), that I would consider closing the Southern Border a “profit making operation.” We build a Wall or…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2018
Trump also slammed Central American states over their reluctance to prevent illegal migration to the US, while "taking [US] money". He threatened to end financial help to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador over this issue. The US president added that according to rumours a new migrant caravan is being formed in Honduras due to the negligence of its authorities.
…..Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money. Word is that a new Caravan is forming in Honduras and they are doing nothing about it. We will be cutting off all aid to these 3 countries — taking advantage of U.S. for years!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2018
He labelled the Democrats "obstructionist" over their lasting standoff concerning the wall's construction. The budget bill requires 60 votes in the Senate to pass, with the GOP controlling only 51 seats. The bill can thus only be passed with some of the Democrats agreeing to vote in its favour or with Republicans using the so-called "nuclear option" to bypass the 60 margin making a simple majority the only requirement.
Trump urged the GOP senators to use the "nuclear option" during the last meeting of the US Senate prior to Christmas, but they decided not to follow his advice, which led to a partial government shutdown. The Senate now must come to an agreement on the budget or pass a stopgap spending bill to restore the government's functioning.
The construction of the wall on the border with Mexico was one of the key electoral promises made by Trump in 2016. He argued that only a "good old fashioned wall" can stop the influx of illegal migrants, gangs and drugs into the US from its southern neighbour.