US President Donald Trump’s border policy is above all one thing: confused. Although there is no other issue that concerns him more than illegal immigration, he has achieved little so far.
Accompanying US President Donald Trump, US Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen visited the border to Mexico on Friday. On Twitter Nielsen published photos of herself and the president, on one of the pictures she shakes hands with him under a bright blue sky.
At that time, the 46-year-old may not have known yet that this was a farewell greeting: On Sunday, Trump announced on Twitter that Nielsen would resign from office.
US media report that Nielsen did not leave office voluntarily. In the past, it was repeatedly said that Trump was dissatisfied with Nielsen, even though she publicly presented herself as a hardliner. Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer said:
“When even the most radical voices in the administration aren’t radical enough for President Trump, you know he’s completely lost touch with the American people.”
Nielsen was the face of Trump’s “zero tolerance policy” on the border with Mexico, which had caused outrage last summer because children were separated from their parents.
The wall that Trump wants to build on the border with Mexico is symbolic of his policy. Together with Nielsen, he had visited the section of a border fence in the US border town of Calexico on Friday – a word coined from California and Mexico – which he described as part of his “new wall”. This “new wall” was anything but “new”, a fence replaces an older barrier, and according to media reports, the plans for the renovation were already based on Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.
In fact, Trump has had existing fences on the border replaced and renovated, as his predecessors did. The new wall he promised on the approximately 3200-kilometer-long border with Mexico is a long time coming. The statement of Mexico paying for the construction of the wall- as promised by Trump in the election campaign – has long been out of the question.
Trump: “The stupidest immigration system in the world”
So far, the direction is mainly confused. Last week Trump had threatened to close the border if Mexico did not stop migrants from Central America on their way to the USA. He then threatened Congress with the same measure if the Democrats did not immediately engage in a reform of migration laws.
Trump called the current set of rules “the stupidest immigration system in the world”, and he repeatedly accuses the Democrats of untruthfully wanting to open the border completely.
Last Thursday, Trump suddenly set Mexico a one-year deadline to stop migrants and drug smuggling to the US – and he now threatened duty-based taxes rather than early border closure. “If that doesn’t work, we will close the border,” he said.
On Sunday he said again that he would close the southern border if necessary. “Our country is FULL,” he wrote on Twitter.
The reason for the confusing stance: Trump knows that closing the border would have serious economic consequences – for both countries. The US Chamber of Commerce recently warned that closing the border could lead to an “economic catastrophe”.