President Donald Trump blamed Democrats for the state of immigration law and the caravan of migrants who have pushed their way from Central America and into Mexican territory. Tweeting that the caravan includes “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners,” the president wrote that police and military of Mexico have been unable to stop the more than 3,000 people who are headed north towards the U.S. He wrote that he has alerted the Border Patrol and U.S. military to prepare for a “national emergency.” He added, “Must change laws!”

Trump tweeted, “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! Remember the Midterms! So unfair to those who come in legally.”

On Friday, Trump told rally attendees that there are “bad people” and “criminals” among the thousands of migrants headed to the southern border of the U.S. Venturing to say who may be funding the caravan, the president suggested that Democrats are behind the effort. 

On Sunday, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo released a statement indicating that the U.S. is "closely following" the migrant caravan and vowing that the Trump administration will not allow illegal immigrants to enter or remain in the country. Stating that the U.S. government understands will detain and repatriate some migrants, while accepting applications for asylum, Pompeo welcomed Mexico's "collaboration" with the United Nations' refugee commission to address refugee and migration issues in the region. "The United States stands ready to assist the Government of Mexico in this effort."

Pompeo also expressed concern that the migrants may be "victimized by human smugglers" and is aware of the violence provoked by some of the migrants and their apparent "political motivation."

Trump has threatened to cut or substantially reduce foreign aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. He has also threatened to close and militarize the southern border of the country. “Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them.”

According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), more than $883 million was disbursed to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras (the Northern Tier) in 2016 and 2017. This was intended to improve education and nutrition in those three countries, and stem the export of narcotics and thus reduce the motivation for residents to flee the region.

On Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen warned that international drug cartels may use the migrant caravan for criminal purposes. The cartels are already involved in human trafficking and moving narcotics into the U.S. and may use the confusion caused by thousands of migrants arriving en masse at the border to cover up their criminal activities. Moreover, last week the government of Guatemala announced that it had arrested 100 individuals it associated with the terrorist Islamic State. “While we closely monitor the caravan crisis, we must remain mindful of the transnational criminal organizations and other criminals that prey on the vulnerabilities of those undertaking the irregular migration journey,” Nielsen stated on Sunday. “We fully support the efforts of Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, as they seek to address this critical situation and ensure a safer and more secure region,” the secretary said.

While the Mexican government failed over the weekend to prevent the illegal migrants from entering its territory, it announced that 640 Honduran migrants have requested refuge. It is placing a priority on “164 women, some of them in advanced stage of pregnancy; 104 girls, boys and teenagers, who are from 3 months old to 17 years old; as well as older adults who have varying degrees of disability. This group includes a minor who traveled alone."
 

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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