Trump threatens to send military, shut border as migrants head for Mexico

“If we don’t get across, we’re going to try the same thing again,” said Gustavo Perez, a Honduran builder speaking at a shelter in Guatemala City.

“We hope that in this big caravan group, they let us in,” he added, referring to the United States.

Trump, who has vowed to curtail immigration and build a border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, threatened this week to halt aid if Central American governments did not act.

Illegal immigration is likely to be a top issue in Nov. 6 U.S. congressional elections and Trump said migrants in the caravan were being used by his political opponents.

“A lot of money has been passing to people to come up to try and get to the border by Election Day,” he said, without providing evidence.

Frustrated by Congress’ failure to fully fund his proposed wall, Trump in April ordered National Guard personnel to help secure the border in four southwestern U.S. states.

In a string of tweets, Trump also said the border issue was more important to him than the new trade deal with Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“The assault on our country at our Southern Border, including the Criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in, is far more important to me, as President, than Trade or the USMCA. Hopefully Mexico will stop this onslaught at their Northern Border,” Trump wrote.

He was referring to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which is awaiting ratification.

U.S. Representative Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said U.S. border security was a key election issue.

“We have to secure that border once and for all,” McCaul told Fox News.

Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said that while National Guard troops were currently supporting the Department of Homeland Security on the U.S. southern border, the Pentagon had not been tasked to provide additional support.

The caravan has been growing steadily since it left the violent Honduran city of San Pedro Sula on Saturday. There are no official estimates of the size of the group.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales on Wednesday dismissed threatened curbs to foreign aid, and said he had spoken with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez about ensuring the migrants who want to return home can do so safely.

Ebrard, Mexico’s incoming foreign minister told local radio that he was not surprised by Trump’s comments.

“It was predictable, and it’s also very close to the election,” he said. “He’s making a political calculation.”  

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