Trump threatens to close Mexico border if migrants not stopped
20 October, 2018, 01:20
USA and Mexican authorities have reportedly struck a deal to stop the rapidly growing "migrantcaravan" before it reaches the United States' southern border; likely averting a potential humanitarian and legal crisis as thousands of Central American refugees head north.
Even the recently renegotiated North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, the United States and Canada, which is now known as USMCA, could be under threat, Trumpsaid.
It was the second time in six months that Trump suggested the possibility of military action to curb immigration at the U.S. -Mexico border.
Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said that while National Guard troops were now supporting the Department of Homeland Security on the United States southern border, the Pentagon had not been tasked to provide additional support.
The Honduran migrant caravan was sparked by the poverty and insecurity in the Central American country, wracked by gang and drug-related violence.
Trump told a political rally in Montana on Thursday night that he wanted "to thank the Mexican government because they are stopping it hopefully before it ever gets to Mexico".
In addition to this latest caravan now at the Mexico-Guatemala border, a US border patrol official tells CBS News there has been an increase in large groups attempting to cross into the USA together.
In April, Trump signed a proclamation to send the National Guard to the border to keep the migrants from entering the United States.
At a news conference with Videgaray, Pompeo called illegal migration a "crisis" and emphasized "the importance of stopping this flow before it reaches the USA border", while also acknowledging Mexico's right to handle the crisis in a sovereign fashion.
Mexico's peso weakened more than 1.5 percent against the dollar on Thursday, partly driven by Trump's comments, analysts said.
Military officials instructed troops to alert border agents if they encountered migrants, rather than intervene themselves except in cases of self defence.
The head of Mexico's federal police later said that they have achieved their first objective of preventing a violent breach of the border by some 3,000 migrants trying to enter from Guatemala.
Juan Escobar, 24, who was among the Honduran migrants in the caravan, said such rhetoric would not dissuade them from continuing the journey. One migrant said: 'One way or another, we will pass'.
A caravan of impoverished emigrants is making its way north from Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras.
The latest focus is on more than 2,000 Hondurans who left last Saturday from the city of San Pedro Sula.
The thousands of Hondurans are making their way through Guatemala, headed toward Mexico and, if they're allowed through, plan to head onward to the US, as the contentious midterm elections approach November 6.
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