On Monday, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen affirmed that her department is "exploring all options to protect the Homeland." Her comment came in reference to a group of migrants from Central America who have joined in a caravan bound for the United States and through Mexico. Referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that was put into place during the Obama administration, which allows hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to remain in the country, President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday, “DACA is dead because the Democrats didn’t care or act, and now everyone wants to get onto the DACA bandwagon... No longer works. Must build wall and secure our borders with proper Border legislation. Democrats want No Borders, hence drugs and crime!”

Trump called on the southern neighbor of the United States to enforce its own immigration laws. He tweeted, “Mexico has the absolute power not to let these large ‘Caravans’ of people enter their country. They must stop them at their Northern Border, which they can do because their border laws work, not allow them to pass through into our country, which has no effective border laws.” He also called on Congress to “immediately pass border legislation” by using what he called the “nuclear option” to stop the “massive inflow of drugs and people.” While he recognized the efforts of the Border Patrol and immigration officials, the president denounced “weak Democrat [party] laws” that “don’t allow them to do their job.”

Nielsen tweeted: Nielsen tweeted: "I echo the President’s demand for Congress to address outdated and dangerous immigration loopholes - the system is broken.” She added that DHS is working with Mexico to address the “illegal alien caravan."

The “nuclear option” is a Senate parliamentary procedure that allows overriding the 60-vote rule to close debate by a simple majority of 51 votes, rather than the two-thirds supermajority normally required to amend the rules. It was first implemented by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in 2013. Current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has repeatedly said, however, that he is unwilling to resort to the nuclear option. Using the nuclear option would effectively eliminate a filibuster by Democrats in the current Senate.

There are reportedly more than 1,000 migrants coming from Central America on the caravan on foot. Most are from Honduras and some are coming in the hope of obtaining asylum in the U.S. Organized annually by an advocacy group -- Pueblos Sin Frontiers ("People Without Borders") -- the group has told media sources in Mexico that they are fleeing political unrest and violence in Honduras. On Monday, the migrants were resting and getting supplies in a small Mexican town. According to reports, the marchers were not allowed into the town but were directed to a soccer field where they set up camp.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted that Mexico is doing “nothing” to stop the flow of immigrants through its territory. “They laugh at our dumb immigration laws. They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA.” He also reiterated his demand for a border wall.

"With all of the money they make from the U.S., hopefully they will stop people from coming through their country and into ours, at least until Congress changes our immigration laws!" Trump tweeted. "Mexico has got to help us at the border," Trump told reporters on Sunday. "And a lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of DACA, and we're going to have to really see," he said.

Mexico responded to Trump’s assertions on Sunday. Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray tweeted: “Every day Mexico and the U.S. work together on migration throughout the region. Facts clearly reflect his. An inaccurate news report should not serve to question this strong cooperation. Upholding human dignity and rights is not at odds with the rule of law. Happy Easter.” In Spanish, the caravan of migrants headed north has been dubbed “Via Crucis” -- the Stations or Way of the Cross.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted on Monday that the Texas National Guard and state law enforcement agencies are on hand to block illegal aliens along the border the state shares with Mexico. 

This is the fifth year that Pueblos Sin Fronteras has organized similar caravans of migrants who have walked the length of Mexico to bring attention to economic and political conditions in Central America while also attempting to cross the U.S./Mexico border and appeal for asylum. The current caravan departed Tapachula -- a city in Mexico’s Chiapas State that is near the Guatemalan border. Before leaving the border town in Mexico, the group held workshops and training for the marchers. American and Mexican lawyers are reportedly going to consult with the marchers when they reach Puebla -- a city in central Mexico -- and provide details about U.S. immigration law and asylum applications.

On the Facebook page for Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the group issued comments on Monday. Having stated that U.S. federal law and international agreements, the marchers are guaranteed refuge in the United States, the group went on to say: “Hundreds of international human rights organizations have attempted to ‘coordinate’ with the US government to insist that the US (and Mexico) comply with their treaty obligations to accept refugees fleeing violence.” Claiming that the U.S. is disregarding its commitments to support the governments of Central America, the group claimed that the U.S. is rejecting “refugees fleeing violence in order to attempt to avoid responsibility for the dirty wars it is funding.”

Just before entering the Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach, Florida, on Easter Sunday, “Mexico has got to help us at the border,” adding, “If they’re not going to helpus at the border, it’s a very sad thing.” The president has repeatedly threatened to pull out of NAFTA if it cannot be successfully renegotiated. By pulling out of the trade agreement, the U.S. would be striking an effective blow on Mexico. In 2016, Mexico sent 73.3 percent of its exports to the U.S. If the U.S. should pull out of NAFTA, Mexico’s economy would be severely affected. 

On Monday, radio personality and former Secret Service Agent Dan Bongino said “There's a consequence for us, Americans who have to finance this chaos." Speaking on "Fox & Friends," Bongino said, 'You can't have a country without borders.” Bongino added, "It's just a land mass without the borders." He went on to say, "We have taken in millions of people into a country that's absorbed them." Bongino said, "But in order to maintain some form of a collective identity in a country, we have to have some sense of commonality. We have to give generations of immigrants time to adapt to their new country and their new home.”



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Spero News writer 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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