Trump threatens to close Mexico border if migrants not stopped

Clay Curtis
October 19, 2018

Mr Trump had earlier this week threatened to withhold aid to the region as a caravan with several thousand Honduran migrants travelled through Guatemala to Mexico in the hope of crossing into the United States to escape violence and poverty.

Thursday's comments were not the first time Trump has threatened to close down the southern border entirely.

Even the recently renegotiated North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, the United States and Canada, which is now known as USMCA, could be under threat, Trump said.

The president's tweets come after more than 2,000 Honduran migrants hoping to come to the USA resumed their travel northward Wednesday even hours after Trump warned "anybody entering the United States illegally will be arrested and detained" in a tweet.

More than 2,000 Hondurans are in a migrant caravan trying to reach the United States.

Mexico has said the Hondurans would not be allowed to enter as a group and would either have to show a passport and visa - something few have - or apply individually for refugee status, a process that can mean waiting for up to 90 days for approval.

In his third tweet of the morning, the president called the caravan part of an "an assault on our country by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador" - and he accused Democrats of leading the effort through their support of open borders and a weak enforcement of USA immigration laws.

The country has deployed 500 federal officers to the border city of Tapachula, where migrants are expected to arrive next week.

"They seem to be responding to the statements of President Trump and our indications that our relationship is in trouble if they don't behave like good neighbors".

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The threat came in a series of angry tweets about immigration in which he also warned that he could stop funding to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and again falsely accused Democrats of wanting "open borders" and "weak laws".

As with a similar march in April, organizers of the march claim they will claim refugee status when they reach the USA border with Mexico.

In neighboring Guatemala, where their journey continued Wednesday amid warning tweets from President Donald Trump and other USA 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.

From about 160 people who departed last Friday from the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, the migrants' ranks have ballooned as much as twentyfold, with estimates ranging as high as 3,000. Trump tweeted on Thursday, adding that he blamed Democrats for what he called "weak laws!"

Mexico's president, Enrique Peña Nieto, is also hosting emergency talks with the U.S. secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, on Friday, to assess the situation.

Mujica hit the headlines last spring after his organisation's caravan drew the anger of President Donald Trump and even led to a U.S. border crackdown. That episode caused a spat between the United States and Mexico and was used to justify a deployment of National Guard troops to the border.

The plan was agreed on by members of Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto's government, however President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's incoming administration has vowed not to criticize the plan, the official said.

"We are going to continue, " Navarreto said.

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