President Donald Trump said Monday the United States will begin cutting aid to three Central American nations because of their governments’ failure to stop a migrant caravan headed for the U.S. border.
In a series of tweets, Trump called the caravan’s approach a national emergency and said he has alerted the U.S. border patrol and military, setting the stage for a confrontation when the swelling mass of migrants reach the border.
“We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid” that the United States provides to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, he said.
“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,” he said on Twitter.
“I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy (sic). Must change laws!”
It was unclear what formal action, if any, Trump had taken to activate the military or the border patrol.
Thousands of people seeking to escape poverty and violence in their homelands have pushed into Mexico despite efforts to hold back the migrant caravan at a bridge on the Guatemala-Mexico border.
Around 3,000 migrants reached the city of Tapachula in the Mexican state of Chiapas on Sunday after a seven-hour trek from the Guatemalan border.
Trump has used the crisis, which comes two weeks before US midterm elections, as a cudgel against Democrats, reviving the immigrant-bashing rhetoric that helped get him elected in 2016.
“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!” he tweeted.