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Can the President Close the Border? Relevant Laws and Considerations

CRS Legal Sidebar via LC – Can the President Close the Border? Relevant Laws and Considerations, April 12, 2019: “Does the executive branch have authority to “close” the southern border? Recently, President Trump declared that he would order the closure of the U.S.-Mexico border or at least “large sections” of it, unless Mexico acts to stop flows of migrant sand drugs into the United States or unless Congress enacts certain reforms to the immigration system. The statements presumably refer to the closure of land ports of entry on the border (federal laws already prohibit entry between ports, and a Trump Administration policy that would have rendered non-U.S. nationals (aliens)who violate those laws ineligible for asylum protections has been blocked by federal courts, as explained in a separate Legal Sidebar). The President later declared that he would give Mexico a “one-year warning” before placing tariffs on cars made in Mexico or closing the border. His statements have prompted legal questions about the reach of executive authority to close ports of entry on the southern border to people and goods…”

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