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22 Oct, 2018 14:09

Trump: US to begin cutting aid to Central American nations for failing to stop migrant ‘caravan’

Trump: US to begin cutting aid to Central American nations for failing to stop migrant ‘caravan’

As a thousands-strong ‘caravan’ of migrants makes its way towards the US’ southern border, President Trump took to Twitter to threaten to cut off foreign aid to Central American governments and deploy the military to the border.

“Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States,” Trump tweeted on Monday. “Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergency. Must change laws!”

Originating in Honduras two weeks ago, the ‘caravan’ has since swelled in numbers, and thousands of migrants are now marching through Mexico in a mile-long, ten-abreast convoy. Believing their odds to be greater in numbers, the migrants have already passed through Guatemala and have another 1,600 miles to go through Mexico until they reach the US’ southern border.

Trump had warned Mexico’s government last week “in the strongest of terms,” to halt the caravan’s advance, and threatened to rip up a recently signed trade agreement with Mexico if Enrique Peña Nieto’s government doesn’t act to stop illegal immigration. While Mexican authorities had halted the caravan at the border with Guatemala, many crossed illegally, and more broke through the border fence and continued their journey.

Attempts on Sunday, by mostly unarmed Federal Police, to block the caravan outside the town of Tapachula failed, as officers withdrew due to the size of the crowd.

Trump’s “unknown Middle Easterners” likely refers to Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales’ claim last week that his country has apprehended and deported “close to 100 people” linked to the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group, and more than 1,000 MS-13 gang members, as the caravan crossed Guatemala.

President Trump again repeated his warning from last week that he would deploy the military to secure the border if Mexico fails to stop the caravan’s advance. Trump previously deployed the National Guard to the border in April, as a smaller caravan headed to the US, but said over the weekend that he would deploy “the military, not the guard.”

Two weeks out from the crucial midterm elections, Trump also hit out at Democrats for failing to vote in favor of two Republican sponsored immigration bills earlier this year. “Every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our Country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic Immigration Laws!” he tweeted.

With the migrants now well into Mexico, Trump blasted the governments of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala for allowing the caravan to get this far in the first place. Repeating a familiar threat, Trump said the US will “now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing” foreign aid to these countries.

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