White House press secretary Sarah Sanders at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 2 2019. Picture: AFP/JIM WATSON
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 2 2019. Picture: AFP/JIM WATSON

Washington — On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump’s administration took a step back from its threat to close the southern US border, saying Mexico has been taking a greater responsibility for dealing with the immigration problem.

White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said the Trump administration had seen Mexico “stepping up and taking a greater sense of responsibility” for dealing with the immigration flows that US officials say are overwhelming ports of entry along the border.

“They have started to do a significant amount more. We’ve seen them take a larger number of individuals” and hold those who have asylum claims in Mexico while they are being processed in the US, Sanders told reporters at the White House.

“We’ve also seen them stop more people from coming across the border so that they aren’t even entering into the US. So those two things are certainly helpful and we’d like to see them continue,” Sanders said.

On Friday, Trump threatened to close the border this week unless Mexico took steps to stop immigrants from reaching the US illegally. Closing the border with Mexico could potentially disrupt millions of legal border crossings and billions of dollars in trade.

Sanders said the administration was “looking at all options when it comes to closing the different ports of entry, what that looks like and what the impacts would be”.

She told Fox News that the administration wants Mexico to continue working to address the issue so “we aren’t forced to take drastic action like closing the ports of entry at our border”.

Reuters