On Thursday, President Trump threatened to deploy the military to the U.S.-Mexico border to close it against migration from the south, according to MarketWatch. The president used his Twitter account to warn that if Mexico does not intervene against an “onslaught” of Central American migrants coming to the United States, that he “will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE THE SOUTHERN BORDER!”
President Trump’s Twitter outburst comes at a time when a caravan of approximately 4,000 South American migrants continues to travel north. The group started in Honduras with only 160 people, but the caravan continues to grow as it picks up new participants along the way, making slow progress towards the U.S. border. The exodus has nearly reached the Guatemala-Mexico border, which has caused President Trump to increase pressure on the Mexican government to halt their progress.
The caravan — consisting mainly of displaced families seeking to escape the poverty and violence of their respective neighborhoods — will face over 1,000 Mexican federal police officers once they reach the border. Mexico has promised to allow caravan travelers with proper documentation and visas to pass through — and may accept a certain number of refugees — but has promised detainment and deportation for others. The high-stakes showdown at the Mexican border should happen over the course of the next day or two.
In a series of tweets, President Trump attacked Democrats as being responsible for the caravan. “I am watching the Democrat Party led (because they want Open Borders and existing weak laws) assault on our country by Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, whose leaders are doing little to stop this large flow of people, INCLUDING MANY CRIMINALS, from entering Mexico to U.S.”
....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. All Democrats fault for weak laws!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2018
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, having just returned from his trip to Saudi Arabia to deal with the Jamal Kashoggi situation, has been dispatched to South America to meet with leaders of several countries in hopes of managing the caravan situation. Pompeo will visit Panama City today, and Mexico City tomorrow. He will meet with the presidents of both nations, where the migrant caravan will be a “prominent” subject of discussions.
Over the past four years, the United States has sent over $2.6 billion in foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. In his tweets, President Trump has repeated his threats to cut off foreign aid to those nations if the mass migration continues.
....In addition to stopping all payments to these countries, which seem to have almost no control over their population, I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught - and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2018
Should the caravan breach the Mexican border security, it would still take several weeks or even months to reach the U.S. border, even without interference from Mexican or American officials.