WASHINGTON / NEW YORK (Reuters) – The White House took a step back on Tuesday from a threat to closing the US border with Mexico, although a relocation of frontier staff in recent days has led to a slowdown in legal crossings and trade in US entry ports there.
White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said the Trump administration sees Mexico "reinforcing and taking greater responsibility" to deal with immigration flows that US officials say are overwhelming entry ports along the border.
"They've begun to make significant more. We've seen them take a larger number of individuals" and keep those who have asylum claims in Mexico while they are being treated in the United States, Sanders told reporters at the White House.
"We have also seen them stop more people from crossing the border so that they do not even enter the US. So the two things are really helpful and we would like to see them continue," Sanders says.
Trump threatened on Friday to close the border this week unless Mexico took action to stop immigrants from reaching the United States illegally, closing the border may interfere with millions of legal border crossings and billions of dollars in trade.
Trump hinted at a softening earlier in a Twitter post on Tuesday. "After many years (decades), Mexico seizes a large number of people at its southern border, mainly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador," he said.
Sanders said the administration "looked at all options in terms of closing the different ports of the entrance, what it looks like and what the consequences would be. "
She told the Fox News administration that Mexico would continue to work to take address the issue so, adding that the administration is studying the consequences of closing different ports of records to give Trump some options.
Officials of US Homeland Security Service (DHS) said on Tuesday that a rescheduling of about 750 officers on the border to deal with an increase in immigrants ̵
"Waiting times in Brownsville (Texas) were about 180 minutes, which was twice the peaks last year," said a leading DHS official on a conversation with journalists. "We finished the day yesterday at Otay Mesa (California) with a back-up of 150 untreated trucks," said the official. "This is a reality."
DHS officials said on the call that border regions have been overwhelmed by families who cannot be expelled quickly because they hope to seek asylum in the United States.