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Trump threatens to send military, shut border as Central Americans migrate

19 October 2018
Trump threatens to send military, shut border as Central Americans migrate

The move came after President Donald Trump threatened to use military force to completely close the US-Mexico border over the issue.

Trump tweeted that he wanted "Mexico to stop this onslaught".

However, this one, coming as it does so close to the U.S. mid-term elections in November, has taken on a highly political dimension, to that point that President Trump has threatened to use the military and close the USA southern border.

He even threatened that the migrant issue could undermine the recently re-worked trade deal between the US, Mexico and Canada.

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

The Honduran government this week pleaded for the caravan to disperse, saying it was being used by political rabble-rousers to try to embarrass the USA and Central American governments.

The "caravan" of migrants in question, believed to be several thousand strong, has been snaking its way north from Honduras since last weekend. In April, he said in a meeting with foreign leaders that the "going to be guarding our border with our military".

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

Cooperating with the US on strict border policies has been met with a serious backlash in Mexico and contributed to the election of incoming-President Andres Obrador.

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

Upon reaching Mexico, the migrants must show a valid visa to enter the country, or face deportation, therefore Trump has focused much of his pressure on the Mexican government.

Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico's foreign minister-designate, downplayed Trump's comments as aimed at his domestic political base.

"They're saying all the right things now, and they're behaving more responsibly than they did in the spring when the earlier caravan came through and they actually issued them transit visas to continue to the United States", she explained. For example, Nathan J. Robinson the editor of Current Affairs recently accused the USA of, "treat [ing] worldwide law as a meaningless set of guidelines that can be violated at will".

Barely a week goes by without Trump warning about the danger posed by ultra-violent Central American gangs like MS-13, while chants of "build the wall" are a staple element of his pre-midterms campaign rallies.

As the mass of humanity strung out from Guatemala City to the border, it was unclear whether those who made it the farthest would wait for their countrymen to arrive before attempting a mass crossing into Mexico.

Trump has threatened to cut aid to Honduras and Guatemala if their governments do not stop the caravan.