No wall? Then 'southern border' to be closed

"Democrats have offered Republicans three options to re-open government that all include funding for strong, sensible, and effective border security - but not the President's immoral, ineffective and expensive wall", Pelosi aide Drew Hammill said in a statement distributed to the press Thursday afternoon.

Mulvaney added of the shutdown: "We do expect this to go on for a while".

The president then reiterated his threat to close the border if wall funding isn't secured, and added that his administration would also cut off foreign aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador for taking money from the US while not preventing its citizens from migrating to America in caravans.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to seal the United States-Mexico border "entirely" if Congress does not approve billions of dollars in funding for a wall.

"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", he tweeted Friday morning.

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"The President's been here, by the way, all weekend, all Christmas", Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who will also assume the role of acting chief of staff at the end of the year, said in an interview Friday on "Fox & Friends".

After weeks of failed talks between Trump and congressional leaders, parts of the USA government shut down on Saturday, affecting about 800,000 employees of the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Agriculture, Commerce and other agencies. Democrats said the White House offered $2.5 billion for border security, but that Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told Vice President Mike Pence it wasn't acceptable. It was the third attempt by Democrats to bring up the bill since the shutdown began.

"We don't think they will [negotiate] until after the new Congress is sworn in", he said. "We're going to behave like adults and do our job". Senate Republicans approved that compromise in an earlier bill with Democrats but now say they won't be voting on any more unless something is agreed to by all sides, including Trump.

On Thursday, the Senate was in session for only four minutes after lawmakers didn't show up.

Trump long promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, but Mexico refuses to do so. Experts have warned that cutting off aid money to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras could actually exacerbate the problem by worsening the poverty and violence that push many migrants to leave those countries.

  • Sonia Alvarado