President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to close the US border with Mexico if Congress doesn't fund the construction of a wall, a dispute that has already caused a partial shutdown of the government.
"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," the president said on Twitter.
The shutdown affects 25 percent of federal government agencies.
Closing the border would be "a profit making operation," Trump said, asserting that the US loses out by doing business with Mexico under the terms 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), set to be replaced by a new accord.
The new pact, dubbed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, was signed last October by Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican then-President Enrique Peña Nieto, but must be ratified by the respective legislatures to take effect.
"We build a wall or close the Southern Border," Trump tweeted. "Bring our car industry back into the United States where it belongs. Go back to pre-NAFTA, before so many of our companies and jobs were so foolishly sent to Mexico."
The government shutdown, now in its seventh day, will likely continue into 2019 given the difficulties the White House and the Democratic opposition in Congress have in reaching an agreement.
Trump demands $5 billion for the wall, but Democrats, who will take control of the House of Representatives next week, are offering $1.3 billion for border security accompanied by restrictions that would hamper plans for a physical barrier.
This is the third partial shutdown since Trump was inaugurated in January 2017. The first occurred in January of this year and went on for three days, while the second took place in February and lasted just a few hours.