President Donald Trump on Thursday backed off his threat to close the southern border this week, instead giving Mexico a one-year warning to stop the flow of drugs and apprehend migrants and saying that if it didn’t, he would close the border or place new tariffs on cars produced in Mexico.
“Mexico understands that we’re going to close the border or I’m going to tariff the cars. I’ll do one or the other and probably start off with the tariffs. That will be a very powerful incentive because Mexico has the strongest immigration laws anywhere in the world,” Trump said during a meeting at the White House.
“I don’t play games,” Trump said. “I’ll do it.”
The president said Mexico has been stepping up efforts to apprehend Central American migrants, but added more needs to be done. On Thursday, he added drugs as an additional condition for Mexico to meet – or else face consequences.
(MORE: Trump ‘ready’ to close border, but says Mexico has made a ‘big difference’)
The president also acknowledged that his threats to impos auto tariffs could be curbed by his own U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal that has a provision preventing auto tariffs – but said border security is more important than the USMCA.