Trump's making the migrant caravan a political issue. Here are the facts.
By Maegan Vazquez, CNN
3 hrs ago
President Donald Trump, in a series of tweets on Monday, claimed he would declare a "national emergency" over an issue that has frequently piqued his attention -- migrant caravans moving toward the United States through Central America and Mexico.
His tweets come just weeks ahead of the 2018 midterm elections and he has emphasized immigration as a key issue, without evidence accusing Democrats of pushing for overrun borders in what appears to be a naked fear campaign aimed at turning out his supporters. Immigration was a key issue in the 2016 presidential race.
Crowds of migrants, estimated to be about 7,500 people on Monday, resumed their long journey north on Sunday into Mexico as part of a migrant caravan originating in Central America.
Currently migrants are at the Central Park Miguel Hidalgo in the center of Tapachula. Organizers plan for them to begin moving north, reaching the northern city of Huixtla, which is about 20 miles north, and resting there.
The President, in his tweets, also made several questionable claims concerning immigration and the caravan. Among them: that "unknown Middle Easterners" are "mixed" in with the caravan, that he would be cutting off foreign aid over the caravan, and that Mexican authorities failed to stop migrants from coming into Mexico.
Asked later Monday about his assertion about "unknown Middle Easterners" in the caravan, Trump said: "Unfortunately, they have a lot of everybody in that group."
"We've gotta stop them at the border and, unfortunately, you look at the countries, they have not done their job," he said. "They have not done their job. Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador -- they're paid a lot of money, every year we give them foreign aid and they did nothing for us, nothing."
Here's what we know:
Are there "unknown Middle Easterners" "mixed" into the migrant caravan?
Trump tweeted "criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed" into the migrant caravan moving toward the United States. He called this a "national emergy" (sic).
It's unclear what "unknown Middle Easterners" Trump appears to be referring to in his tweet, since there have been no reports, in the press or publicly from intelligence agencies, to suggest there are "Middle Easterners" embedded in the caravan.
However, earlier this month, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales claimed foreign individuals linked to terrorism were captured in the country during his administration, which began in January 2016.
"We have arrested almost 100 people highly linked to terrorist groups, specifically ISIS. We have not only detained them in our territory, they have also been deported to their countries of origin. All of you here have information to that effect," Morales said during a Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America event attended by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
There's no direct link or correlation between Morales' statement and Trump's assertion on Twitter.
The Department of Homeland Security did not provide any evidence to bolster the President's claim about "unknown Middle Easterns" in the caravan when asked for it by CNN on Monday.
A department official told CNN that in fiscal year 2018, Customs and Border Protection "apprehended 17,256 criminals, 1,019 gang members, and 3,028 special interest aliens from countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria and Somalia. Additionally, (Customs and Border Protection) prevented 10 known or suspected terrorists from traveling to or entering the United States every day in fiscal year 2017."
The Department of Homeland Security did not specify any Middle Eastern countries.
Pressed about the President's assertion that there are "unknown Middle Easterners" mixed in with the caravan, a State Department spokesperson said they understand there are several nationalities in the caravan and referred us to Department of Homeland Security for more information.
Will the administration cut off foreign aid? Can they?
Trump tweeted that because "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.," the United States "will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them."
It's unclear where the administration will propose to make the cuts the President appears to be talking about, and CNN has reached out to the White House and the DHS for further information.
However, the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act prohibits the President from withholding -- or impounding -- money appropriated by Congress.
New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said Monday that his office has reached out to the Government Accountability Office to ensure that the President does not violated the act.
"Fortunately, Congress -- not the President -- has the power of the purse, and my colleagues and I will not stand idly by as this Administration ignores congressional intent," Engel said in a statement.
Trump has made the threat of cuts to foreign aid going to Latin American countries over migrant caravans several times over the last year.
Under the Trump administration, and with the approval of the Republican-controlled Congress, there have already been significant cuts to foreign aid to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras -- the three countries he mentioned Monday -- and the administration plans to continue making cuts in fiscal year 2019.
Were authorities from Mexico unable to stop the migrant caravan from heading into the US?
Trump tweeted Monday that "Mexico's Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States."
There are some 7,500 people marching north as part of a migrant caravan through Mexico, caravan organizer Dennis Omar Contreras told CNN. He said the organizers did a count of participants Monday morning.
He said the migrants will leave Mexico's Tapachula for the town of Huixtla, which is located more than 20 miles northwest of their Monday morning location.
While Mexican authorities said before the caravan's arrival that anyone who entered the country "in an irregular manner" could be subject to apprehension and deportation, many migrants from the caravan appear to have circumvented authorities.
Kevin Sieff, Josh Partlow
7 hrs ago
TAPACHULA, Mexico —As thousands of Central American migrants continue their long walk to the U.S. border, prompting daily condemnations from President Trump, the Mexican government has had to decide: Are Trump’s threats enough to trigger an intervention?
For now, Mexican police have merely stepped aside as the caravan has passed, watching first as migrants took rafts across the river that separates the country from Guatemala, and then as they continued by foot along the main highway, chanting, “Si, se pudo!” or “Yes, we could!”
That response appears to have been conveyed to the White House, and now, once again, Mexico’s most important bilateral relationship appears to be on shaky ground.
“Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States,” Trump tweeted. He later said on Fox News, “I don’t know what’s going on with Mexico. It looks like the people are walking right through the middle of Mexico. So I’m not exactly thrilled there either!”
The caravan has marked another chapter in Mexico’s complicated effort to balance threats from the United States with the country’s own domestic politics. Detaining or deporting the caravan’s members would certainly please Trump, but it would flout Mexican immigration laws and further the impression that the government is taking orders from a hostile White House.
So far, the Mexican police appear to be conscious of that tension and the perception of their presence. Riot police have stopped to pose for pictures in their gear, as if ready to combat the migrants, letting international television crews film them before retreating.
The caravan risks a wider confrontation with Washington if Trump threatens to cut off aid to Mexico, as he has threatened to do in Central America, or attempts to seal the border with the U.S. military. Every day, billions of dollars in trade crosses the U.S.-Mexico border, and any attempt to block those flows could inflict serious economic harm on Mexico. The newly renegotiated North American trade agreement hangs in the balance as it has yet to be ratified by lawmakers.
The Mexican government’s dilemma is worsened by the fact that the incoming government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador campaigned on a gentler approach to migration, saying it would not hunt down migrants as if they were criminals.
“You have Trump’s government pressing Mr. Peña Nieto’s government to deter or stop the flows, but on the other hand, you have the pressure of public opinion and the new government saying you should treat the newcomers with dignity,” said Daniel Millan, a former spokesman in President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government who is now a political consultant. “They are walking a tightrope.”
Mexico’s incoming foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said Monday on Mexican radio that it would be a “big mistake” for the Mexican government to use its armed forces to try to stop the caravan.
“It would be inadmissible in Mexico to use the army against these people,” he said, adding that he didn’t think Peña Nieto’s government was considering that step. “We would not be in agreement with that at all.”
After a meeting Monday with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland in Ottawa, he added that his administration would offer more work visas for Central Americans. “We are going to invest in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador,” he said.
Peña Nieto addressed the caravan on Friday when he said, “Mexico does not allow people to enter our territory illegally and much less so violently.”
That day, on the bridge connecting Mexico and Guatemala, Mexican police fired tear gas at the migrants, closing the official border as television crews and photographers captured their actions. But just next to the bridge, police watched as thousands of migrants crossed the border illegally by raft, settling for the night in the main plaza of the border city of Ciudad Hidalgo.
Still, the images on the bridge, at least for that moment, appeared to impress conservatives in the United States.
“I want to thank the Mexican officials and the Mexican police for putting their lives on the line,” said conservative commentator Laura Ingraham on Fox News on Friday night.
“I think this is the best Mexico has ever been,” said former congressman and Trump supporter Newt Gingrich on Ingraham’s show.
But in Mexico, the images were seen differently.
Mexican political analyst Carlos Bravo Regidor captured the reaction of many here, tweeting: “The wall already exists. It’s called Mexico. Congratulations, Mr. Trump.”
On Sunday afternoon, there was yet another test. A convoy of police officers, wearing riot gear and carrying shields, headed for the migrant caravan, ready to form a barricade that would block the more than 5,000 Central Americans headed north.
“We’re here to enforce the laws of Mexico,” one police officer said. “You can’t just pass through our country without permission.”
When the migrants approached the police checkpoint, officers pleaded with them to apply for legal status in Mexico. There were empty buses ready to take them for processing. A police helicopter swooped overhead. The caravan paused briefly as the migrants talked among themselves. Maybe Mexican authorities would give them temporary visas, they thought, or maybe it was a trick, a sneaky way for Mexico to deport the migrants en masse.
“Vamos!” several migrants yelled, and they walked through the checkpoint unhindered. The officers then threw their riot shields in a bus and drove away. The caravan continued.
Mexico is by no means lax on undocumented Central American migrants. Last year, according to the Interior Ministry, Mexico deported 82,000 migrants from the region. It’s possible that, at any moment, the government could decide to take a harsher stance with the migrant caravan.
“We know they can decide to stop us at any time, and it scares me,” said Alside Caseres, a member of the caravan from Honduras, who is traveling with his wife and son.
It was Monday morning, and Caseres and his family were packing their bags, preparing for another day of walking in the heat. They had slept in the plaza on concrete the night before, eating noodles and tortillas donated by local residents.
“Viva Mexico!” yelled some of the migrants who had already started walking.
On Sunday, Trump had tweeted: “People have to apply for asylum in Mexico first, and if they fail to do that, the U.S. will turn them away.”
Indeed, Mexican authorities have repeatedly encouraged the Central American migrants to apply for legal status here, but it was unclear what that status would yield: asylum in Mexico, a temporary visa that would allow enough time for migrants to traverse the country, or something else. Several hundred members of the caravan have agreed to be processed legally, and over the weekend they were taken to a shelter in southern Mexico, which is currently closed to journalists.
On Monday morning, organizers of the caravan expressed skepticism toward Mexican immigration authorities.
“Humanitarian assistance has been predicated on detention,” said Irineo Mujica, the director of Pueblo Sin Fronteras.
Here’s what happens when migrant caravan arrives at U.S. border
By Tal Kopan
7 hrs ago
WASHINGTON — President Trump ratcheted up his rhetoric Monday about a caravan of thousands of Central Americans making its way toward the U.S., even as uncertainty grew over what will happen to the migrants if they reach the border.
Trump has seized on the caravan as a key talking point heading into the midterm elections. The president has been pointing to the growing group of migrants as justification for his aggressive immigration proposals.
“Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy. Must change laws!” Trump tweeted Monday.
A source familiar with the government’s information on the caravan said there was no evidence “Middle Easterners” were mixing into it. It’s unclear whether Mexico will allow the group to continue the remaining 1,000-plus miles to the U.S. border without interfering.
Here are some answers common questions about the caravan:
Q: Why do caravans form?
A large factor attracting migrants is potential safety in numbers. It is virtually impossible to travel through Mexico to the U.S. border without paying smugglers, as the organized crime cartels control territory that migrants need to cross. On the way, the migrants are often abused, extorted and assaulted. Caravans offer an opportunity to travel together and avoid some of those dangers.
Caravans have also been seen as an opportunity for migrants and their supporters to call attention to their plight. There is extreme violence and poverty in what’s known as the Northern Triangle — Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — which remains the largest driver of migrants to the U.S. border.
Q: What happens when they reach the U.S.?
It is impossible to predict how many of the migrants will eventually reach the border. In the past, hundreds of migrants have fallen away from caravans as they traveled, either turned back by Mexico, settling there, or setting off on their own.
The migrants usually intend to turn themselves in to authorities in the U.S. Once they’re at a designated port of entry or if they are apprehended trying to cross illegally, they can tell officials that they have a fear of persecution in their home country. That triggers an asylum interview.
Q: Where will they arrive?
A caravan last spring ended up in Tijuana, so most of the migrants tried to cross at the San Ysidro port of entry south of San Diego.
That border crossing is the busiest in the hemisphere and regularly has long wait times for migrants seeking asylum. In April, some migrants had to wait there for weeks.
Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan testified at a congressional hearing in July that the wait at that crossing at the time was 1,000 people long. The port can process 50 to 100 people a day, he said.
Q: So will they be let into the U.S.?
It depends. By law, asylum seekers must be given a chance to make their case once they set foot on U.S. soil. But the U.S has been stopping people before they get to the border, which officials call the “limit line,” until space is available. There is a shelter network on the Mexico side of the border.
An inspector general report analyzing the administration’s handling of the family separation crisis this summer faulted that “metering” for causing more people to cross into the U.S. illegally after they were turned away from the port of entry.
Long waits could also worsen an already dangerous situation, said Eric Olson, an expert on Mexico and Latin America at the Wilson Center, a nonpartisan institute in Washington. Cartels target desperate migrants at the border, he said, and homicide rates have skyrocketed there this year.
“You introduce more chaos, more uncertainty to those areas and you’re going to exacerbate a very difficult humanitarian situation,” Olson said “There are very active criminal organizations operating in those areas that specialize in moving migrants, and they are going to certainly take advantage of the situation.”
Q: What happens once they’re here?
Once on U.S. soil, either legally at a crossing or caught illegally, an immigrant claiming fear of persecution back home is interviewed to assess whether that fear is “credible.” Those who pass that screening are given a court date, often years in the future, at which they can make their case for asylum. Those found not to have a credible fear are put into expedited deportation proceedings.
Most immigrants waiting for asylum proceedings are let out of detention, often with tracking devices. The Trump administration, however, has sought to be able to detain immigrants for longer and to move their cases through faster.
Q: Is the U.S. preparing for their arrival?
The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment about preparations for the caravan. In a statement, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the U.S. would work with other countries to prosecute criminal organizations that “prey” on migrants.
Ur Jaddou, a former counsel at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Obama administration who now works for pro-immigration advocacy group America’s Voice, said the administration should be getting ready.
Instead, Jaddou said, Trump is “stoking fear, tweeting about it. ... He’s using this to scare people rather than seeing it as, ‘We have a problem, we should address it appropriately,’ as a good government should do.”
Q: What are the migrants’ chances of being granted asylum?
Historically, roughly 80 percent of migrants pass their initial credible-fear interview, but fewer end up winning their legal case for asylum. To stay in the U.S., asylum seekers must prove to an immigration court that they are being persecuted for something they cannot change, and that their government is unable or unwilling to protect them.
But the right to claim asylum is not something the Trump administration can change by itself. That is enshrined in both domestic and international law, and would require legislation in Congress to change.
Q: What about families and children?
Laws and court settlements require that immigrant children be held in custody for only short periods — either three days by themselves or 20 days as part of a family. Children who arrive alone must be handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services, which runs a shelter network that houses the children until they can be placed with an adult in the U.S.
The Trump administration separated more than 2,500 families to prosecute the parents this spring, then backtracked amid an international outcry. Since June, families caught crossing the border illegally have been held and processed together and most have been released into the U.S. with monitoring if they pass their asylum interview.
Just deny illegals education and healthcare within the US and arrest anyone who provides them such services. You don't need a wall.
I am a US citizen and pay taxes (through the nose). I was denied healthcare because I didn't have health insurance some 15 years ago. I had complications with diabetes and stomach pains so bad I was hunched over and wailing out loud. The hospital denied me entry and a doctor. I suppose I should have called an ambulance... but driving there was faster. The system failed me.
An acquaintance of mine married a girl on a visa. She got pregnant... and had her baby in New York State... FREE OF CHARGE. That's why they live in NYS.
Published on Oct 23, 2018
This is an excerpt from an Oshay Duke Jackson stream in which we were having a panel discussion about immigration - both legal and illegal - and also the current issue of the migrant caravan currently traveling through Mexico by way of Honduras (and possibly other nearby/far away countries.) In this video, a left leaning panelist chimes in for a while to give his two cents and defend illegal immigration. Towards the end of the video I give a rebuttal.
100 ISIS Terrorists Caught in the Invasion Horde leaving Guatemala for U.S. (YOU DON'T HEAR THIS FROM LEFTSTREMMEDIA)
"Guatemalan President Morales announced on October 11, 2018, the arrest and deportation of 100 people “highly linked to terrorist groups, specifically ISIS.” This comes as a caravan of Honduran migrants moves through the country en route to the U.S.
Donald Trump Jr: “The caravan thing is an obvious political stunt, but what better way to get terrorists into the country than imbed them in the flood? Leftist policies just endanger our kids.”
The Trump administration is still deciding how it will respond if a Central American migrant caravan arrives at the sourthern US border, despite President Trump's threats to deploy the military and declare a state of emergency, reports AP via CNBC. Trump has also threatened to retract aid from the caravan participants' countries of origin.
Top immigration officials and close Trump advisers are still evaluating the options in closed-door meetings that have gotten increasingly heated in the past week, including one that turned into a shouting match as the caravan of about 7,000 people pushes north, according to administration officials and others with knowledge of the issue. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly on the topic. -CNBC
Some of Trump's inner circle, such as Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen have advocated for a more diplomatic approach - leveraging relationships with Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and the United Nations to halt the group's advance.
Others have advocated for more immediate options - including declaring a state of emergency in order to provide the administration with a wide range of options over how to manage the caravan, including rescinding aid and forcing arriving families to choose months in detention with their children or releasing them into government shelters until a relative or guardian can take them.
President Trump has advocated for much of the latter approach - calling the caravan a national emergency, threatening to deploy troops, and pulling aid.
"They're not coming in. We're going to do whatever we have to, they're not coming in," Trump said on Tuesday.
Tensions reached a fevered pitch in the White House earlier in the day, with Nielsen sugesting going to the UN Committee on Human Rights while in a meeting with White House chief of staff John Kelly.
National Security adviser John Bolton - a longtime UN critic, melted down over the idea, according to AP's sources. Neilson reportedly shot back that Bolton - who infrequently attends immigration meetings, was not an expert on the topic.
Later Tuesday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders performed damage control, stating: "While we are passionate about solving the issue of illegal immigration, we are not angry at one another. However, we are furious at the failure of Congressional Democrats to help us address this growing crisis."
Meanwhile, administration officials sounded off Tuesday on an increase in families coming across the border, mostly from Central America. Nearly a third of all people apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border during the budget year 2018 were families and children — about 157,248 out of 395,579 total apprehensions.
Coupled with the caravan, Trump administration officials have said it's a full-on crisis. They say loopholes in laws have allowed for a worsening border crisis where the vast majority of people coming illegally to the U.S. cannot be easily returned home. -CNBC
In a Tuesday letter to the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) recommended that the Trump administration draft a "third party" agreement with Mexico which would force asylum seekers to do so in Mexico. The lawmakers said this is exactly how things are done in Europe.
Meanwhile, the National Guard currently has around 2,100 mostly unarmed troops patrolling the US-Mexico border.
In April, when a similar caravan was making their way north, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis authorized up to 4,000 troops to patrol the border pending the approval of state governors.
DoD has not received a request from the White House for additional forces beyond the 4,000, a defense official said.
Almost all of the 2,100 Guard forces already dispatched to the border were sent by four states: Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona; with Texas supplying about 1,000 of the total Guard presence.
The 1,000 Texas Army National Guardsmen dispatched are not armed, said spokesman Maj. Joshua G. Amstutz. The forces are not in law enforcement roles, they are back-filling key roles such as running motor pools, so most Customs and Border Protection Agents can be working the border.
Those support roles include “aerial detection, maintaining and repairing vehicles, and providing logistical support so that the Border Patrol is able to get badges back on the border to enforce the law,” Amstutz said. -Military Times
Trump has considered using the military to construct his long-promised wall between Texas and Mexico, adding to the existing portions of border wall along the Texas-Mexico border. The Department of Defense has also said that it's looking to bolster defenses on US training territory - possibly reinforcing existing barriers in place along more than 20 miles of military lands at the Barry M. Goldwater Training Range in Arizona.
Conway dismisses questions about Trump stoking 'fear,' likens it to 'Sesame Street's' 'word of the day'
3 hrs ago
This story was brought to you by the letters F, E, A, and R.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday dismissed questions about whether President Donald Trump is stoking fear by making baseless claims about the migrant caravan heading north through Mexico by invoking the famed children's show "Sesame Street."
"I saw that 'fear' is one of your Sesame Grover words of the day," Conway told reporters outside the White House.
Conway, pressed by NBC News about whether Trump's claims that people from the Middle East are part of the caravan, a statement for which he has provided no evidence and later said he had "no proof," amounted to "fearmongering," added that the caravan "is a very serious issue."
Moments later, Conway defended Trump's claim.
"He doesn't tell you everything he knows, he's the President of the United States. I promise you he knows more than you do and than I do on any given day about this information. There's a constant flow of individuals trying to come over the border," she said.
Her remarks come as Trump has escalated his rhetoric about illegal immigration and the caravan ahead of next month's midterm elections. Trump in recent days has suggested that Democrats are somehow helping to fund the caravan and that it has triggered a "national emergency." He also tweeted Monday that "criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in" the caravan, before saying Tuesday that "there's no proof of anything" to support his earlier claim.
He doubled down on his criticism of the caravan Wednesday morning, tweeting about immigration issues in Europe and said that the U.S. has "strong borders and will never accept people coming into our country illegally."
Some are already turning around and heading back to their home country.
I guess the walkers got tired of watching those Cattle Trucks roll by going North and wondered how they missed out on the ride.
Hope the ground is still muddy those last 100 miles of walking. That'll be another deterrent.