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Donald Trump

Trump: US military will shut Mexico border to stop illegal immigration

President insists migrants heading to the border from Central America include ‘many criminals’ and some of them are carrying drugs

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 October, 2018, 8:29pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 October, 2018, 9:59pm

US President Donald Trump said he will mobilise the US military to close the border with Mexico and stop an “assault” on the nation by a caravan of migrants from Central America.

Trump, who ran in 2016 promising to tighten US immigration laws end the inflow of people entering the country illegally, has called for cutting off foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador if they do not stop the migrants.

He claimed on Thursday that Democrats are backing the human movement to bolster their case for “open borders and existing weak laws”.

“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 US” he said.

“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 US Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!” Trump said on Twitter.

In other posts, Trump claimed that many in the caravan are criminals.

“ … 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!”

Trump’s comments came as he has been urging fellow Republicans to make immigration a central issue in the closing weeks of their midterm election campaigns and blaming Democrats for his failure to pass immigration legislation in the GOP-controlled Congress.

Trump’s frustration appears to stem in part from record levels of immigrant parents entering the US with children in the three months since his administration ended family separations at the border.

The Washington Post reported this week that Border Patrol agents arrested 16,658 family members in September, the highest one-month total on record and an 80 per cent increase from July, according to unpublished Department of Homeland Security statistics.

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When troops were previously mobilised by Trump in response to unlawful migration, their mission has been mostly passive support for border agents, like logistics and surveillance.

The Posse Comitatus Act forbids using the military for civilian law enforcement duties outside military bases in the United States.

Military officials instructed troops to alert border agents if they encountered migrants, rather than intervene themselves except in cases of self defence. The Army also restricted the use of weapons to personnel who may need to use force.

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The General Accountability Office looked at Bush and Obama administration mobilisation on the border and found that DHS did not understand what its military support could and could not do, which frustrated both DHS and Pentagon officials.

Additional reporting by The Washington Post