Trump threatens to send troops to border to stop migrant caravan

President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would to deploy the US military and close the southern border if Mexico did not move to halt large groups of migrants headed for the United States from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

US President Donald Trump threatened Thursday to send the military to the Mexican border and to imperil a trade deal in an intensification of his anti-immigrant rhetoric ahead of congressional elections.

The issue with Trump's threat is that deploying active USA military troops for domestic law enforcement duties is illegal, unless he declares a national emergency and is granted a waiver by Congress.

The head of Mexico's federal police says that they have achieved their first objective of preventing a violent breach of the border by some 3,000 migrants trying to enter from Guatemala.

"Gentlemen, we have to be ready in case the wave comes to here, OK?"

Migrants regularly float across the Suchiate river on rafts, then wind their way north through Mexico, sometimes choosing to travel in large groups for protection.

Trump's comments came as he has been urging fellow Republicans to make immigration a central issue in the closing weeks of their midterm election campaigns and blaming Democrats for his failure to pass immigration legislation in the GOP-controlled Congress.

On Thursday, Mexico's foreign ministry said the government was assisting members of the caravan who had already crossed into Mexican territory.

In April, Mexican immigration officials had some success in dispersing a smaller caravan by processing many who made a decision to seek refugee status in Mexico, but some did continue on to the USA border.

Though it began with just a couple hundred Hondurans headed for the United States, the support flowing in from leftist organizers and funders has grown this new caravan of hopeful immigrants into the thousands.

"They have the right to seek asylum at the border", Espinoza-Madrigal said. Some hope to eventually enter the United States to escape violence and poverty in Central America.

The threats follow a similar playbook he used in April, when a caravan of around 1,500 took a similar journey.

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

Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the US, line up to enter a migrant shelter in Guatemala City, Guatemala October 17, 2018.

The Guardian reports that Mexican authorities have sent "two planeloads of federal forces to the border city of Tapachula, some of the operatives equipped with riot gear", in a bid to stop the group from reaching the Guatemala-Mexico border.

Trump has long touted a need for increased border security, warning criminals and drugs were regularly pouring across the southern border.

"The electoral process is very near, so he is making a political calculation", Ebrard said in an interview with Radio Centro.

  • Joey Payne