Donald Trump threatened to deploy the U.S. military to close the southern border with Mexico Thursday, part of a breakfast Twitter rant blaming Democrats for enabling a criminal “assault on our country.”
Returning to his major preoccupation, Trump said the flow of Central American migrants through Mexico into the United States was resulting in “Criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in” to the country, and threatened to suspend all aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador in response.
“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!
Trump recently expressed anger over a caravan of up to 2,000 migrants from Honduras that has been moving northwards through the region this week.
He tweeted Tuesday that he would cut financial aid to Honduras immediately unless the group, which set off from San Pedro Sula Friday, was turned back. Trump also warned of repercussions to neighboring Guatemala and El Salvador if they allowed the migrants to pass through.
The group of an estimated 4,000, whose members are fleeing endemic violence and poverty in Honduras and have told reporters they hope to seek refuge in the U.S. or Mexico, has been passing through Guatemala towards Mexico’s border. On Wednesday, Mexico sent police reinforcements with riot gear to its border with Guatemala, threatening to turn back any migrants without proper documentation.
It was the second time this year Trump has directly threatened Honduras’ aid, worth more than $175 million, over the issue of immigration, following an earlier warning in April. The Honduran government Tuesday called on its citizens not to join the caravan, warning it was having a destabilizing impact in the region.
In April, the White House sent hundreds of National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to support border patrol operations, although they were given no authority to pursue or detain immigrants.
Cover image: U.S. border wall with Mexico is seen from the United States in Nogales, Arizona. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif)