President Trump is again ramping up his rhetoric on an issue he said he hopes can energize his Republican base heading into the midterms, with an all-caps threat to shut down the southern US border if Mexico doesn't stop the "onslaught" of a caravan of migrants fleeing Honduras.
Trump also said that if a solution is not found, it could upend the new trade deal negotiated between Mexico and the United States. Trump in April authorized the National Guard to protect the border as a similar group of migrants headed up from Central America. Democrats in 2013 led the charge to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, an effort that stalled because of opposition from Republicans who controlled the House. In his series of Thursday tweets, Trump threatened to rip up a recently signed trade agreement with Mexico if Enrique Peña Nieto's government doesn't act to stop illegal immigration and the drug trade at the border, with Mexican drug cartels making an estimated $19-29 billion per year on drug sales in the US.
Trump has portrayed the caravan of migrants, which includes many families traveling with children and fleeing poverty or gang violence, as a threat to the United States.
The president's comments come 19 days before the midterm elections, in which he is focusing on rallying his base over his central campaign issue of hardening USA immigration policy.
In his third tweet of the morning, the president called the caravan part of an "an assault on our country by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador" - and he accused Democrats of leading the effort through their support of open borders and a weak enforcement of USA immigration laws.
Trump, who has made curtailing immigration and building a border wall on the Mexican border a key platform, has previously threatened to shut off aid and dispatch troops there.
The General Accountability Office looked at Bush and Obama administration mobilizations on the border and found that DHS didn't understand what its military support could and could not do, which frustrated both DHS and Pentagon officials.
Other Hondurans are leaving the country to join it.
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