Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Trump threatens to close US-Mexico border over Honduran migrant caravan

The flow of migrants threatens to overwhelm the border and undermine national security the White House said The flow of migrants threatens to overwhelm the border and undermine national security the White House saidJOHN MOORE GETTY IMAGES
Patty Aguilar | 19 October, 2018, 18:45

Donald Trump, the US president, has threatened to close the US-Mexico border and deploy the military unless a large convoy of migrants was stopped.

In neighboring Guatemala, where their journey continued Wednesday amid warning tweets from President Donald Trump and other US officials, they were helped at every turn by residents who offered them food, water and rides in pickups or on flatbed of semi-trailer trucks.

Trump suggested he was even prepared to put at risk the recently renegotiated North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, the United States and Canada, redubbed as USMCA.

While Trump did not make clear what a military deployment at the border might look like, the president did deploy nearly 4,000 National Guard troops to the border in April, as the first caravan approached.

Trump, who ran in 2016 promising to tighten U.S. immigration laws end the inflow of people entering the country illegally, has called for cutting off foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador if they do not stop the migrants.

In morning tweets, Trump repeated vows to stop US aid to Central American countries that do not disband the caravan and issued a fresh threat to the Mexican government, which said Wednesday that it would treat those in the caravan no differently than it does other migrants.

No evidence of criminal affiliations among the migrants screened or interviewed by reporters in the area has emerged so far.

President Donald Trump has threatened to withhold $65 million in aid if Honduran leaders do not find a way to stop the caravan - which has already reached Guatemala.

Barely a week goes by without Trump warning about the danger posed by ultra-violent Central American gangs like MS-13, while chants of "build the wall" are a staple element of his pre-midterms campaign rallies.

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In September, U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended more than 41,400 illegal immigrants, up from 37,544 in August, according to numbers not yet released publicly but obtained by NBC News.

The caravan, which initially took shape as a means to escape the pervasive poverty and violence in Honduras, arrived at the Guatemalan border town of Tecun Uman on Thursday night.

"We're obviously sensitive to the humanitarian situation that we encounter, and we're acting precisely", Gutierrez added.

"Republicans must make the horrendous, weak and outdated immigration laws, and the Border, a part of the Midterms!" he said.

The last time a similar caravan of immigrants sought to cross into Mexico, in April, authorities gave its participants short-term visas that allowed them to travel through Mexico and reach the United States border.

Trump spoke with the incoming Mexican president earlier this month and claimed that "we will work well together".

"Any person wishing to enter national territory must do so by complying with the requirements established in the Migration Law and at the authorized entry points, and may then move freely in Mexico until the expiration of the visa", the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Mexico is seeking worldwide aid as the country prepares for the arrival of thousands of migrants.

Current Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Videgaray was also sanguine and viewed things through the lens of USA politics. Trump said in one tweet.

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