Trump threatens Mexico over migrant caravan

Clay Curtis
October 19, 2018

As the group of some 4,000 people from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras heads toward the US border with Mexico to seek asylum, Trump has called for stricter border enforcement, threatening to cut foreign aid to the three countries and possibly rip up trade deals.

A caravan of 3,000 migrants is moving north through Central America and toward the USA southern border - on a collision course with the midterm elections, as yet another factor that could sway voters.

But the idea that Mexico could close its porous southern border - or that the United States would choke off the hundreds of thousands of legal freight, vehicle and pedestrian crossings every day - strained the imagination.

Mexico's next foreign minister said he was not surprised by Mr Trump's comments, but did not elaborate. In April, the president did deploy the National Guard to assist at the border, a move previously done by both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption A Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the USA, and her daughter at a migrant shelter in Guatemala City Why are they leaving?

Trump threatened to withhold regional aid as a caravan with several thousand Honduran migrants journeyed this week through Guatemala to Mexico in hopes of crossing the U.S. -Mexico border and escaping endemic violence and poverty in Central America.

No evidence has emerged of criminal affiliations among the migrants.

Along with his warning that he is ready to engage the military, Trump has also threatened to withdraw aid from countries that fail to stop the caravan.

"We are all human beings", said Deidania Cabrera, the woman who offered the carriage to Zuniga.

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Throughout the week, federal police aircraft arrived in the city of Tapachula, near the border with Guatemala, with hundreds of federal officers equipped with antiriot gear.

On the Mexican side, the foreign ministry said its government was in constant communication with members of the caravan explaining the migrants' options.

The Mexican government is also requesting the UN High Commissioner for Refugees establish a series of shelters across the country's southern border with added help in reviewing legitimate claims for asylum.

"Republicans must make the horrendous, weak and outdated immigration laws, and the Border, a part of the Midterms!" he tweeted Wednesday. Instead, each person would need to apply for refugee status individually or show a valid passport and visa.

In part, the response is meant to both dissuade the migrants from even attempting to enter Mexico and potentially to show the Trump administration that Mexico is willing to, as the government put it, "maintain order".

Mexico in a statement Wednesday said that anyone who entered its country illegally would be processed and returned to their country of origin.

The President is blaming the Democrats, this time around, for encouraging the caravans.

Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray plans to make the formal request during a meeting Thursday with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres in NY. Trump said in one tweet.

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