Published: Sun, November 04, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Migrant caravan: I didn't say shoot, says Trump

Migrant caravan: I didn't say shoot, says Trump

President Donald Trump says he told the USA military mobilizing at the Southwest border that if migrants try to throw rocks at them, the troops should act as though the rocks are "rifles". "But we're going to arrest those people quickly and for a long time", Trump added.

"If these caravans are allowed into our country, only bigger and more emboldened caravans will follow - and you see that's what's happening now", Trump said.

Trump said that from now on, the United States will stop its policy of allowing people to claim political asylum at the border unless they have first gone through an official border post.

But as migrants struggle with exhaustion, blisters, sickness, and swollen feet far from the closest USA border, tempers flared within their ranks. He said the government is also working to build "massive" tent facilities to hold members of the caravan and no one will be released while their asylum cases are being processed. Trump has spent the waning days of the campaign hammering the issue at every occasion as he tries to energize Republican voters using the same playbook that helped him win in 2016.

Another caravan, also of about 1,000 to 1,500 people, entered Mexico earlier this week and is now in Mapastepec, Chiapas. They should apply to come into our country. -Mexican border in response to the caravans - roughly double the number the Pentagon said it now plans for a mission that has been criticized as unnecessary, considering the caravans remain hundreds of miles away.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump had said, "They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back".

A USA defense official told CNN that the troops deployed to the border will be operating under the standard rules on the use of force and will only use such force in self-defense. "It would be an unlawful order", he wrote, citing the Law of Land Warfare.

Thousands of Central American migrants traveling in a caravan through southern Mexico resumed their journey toward the United States by hitchhiking and walking along highways on Saturday, after a governor reneged on a brief offer to provide dozens of buses to take them to Mexico City more quickly. Currently, there is a backlog of about 700,000 cases, and it can take years for claims to get resolved. The military can be used to halt armed insurrections, and to help recover weapons of mass destruction on USA soil.

The troop numbers have changed at a dizzying pace, with Trump drawing a hard line on immigration in the lead-up to the midterm elections.

US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said, "We are already facing a border security and humanitarian crisis along our southwest border".

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"It's a classic strategy that goes back to 19th-century nativist thinking", he said.

Senior Trump administration officials have previously encouraged asylum-seekers to make their claims at official ports of entry. Poverty may play a role in the complex decision process granting asylum, but the status is reserved for people who have a justifiable fear of persecution in their own country based on factors such as their race, religion or political views.

He has also suggested that those claims should be rejected even before asylum seekers appear before a judge and begin court proceedings and that the simple fact of crossing the border illegally could also be a factor in rejecting an asylum claim.

"Some have been waiting for many years".

Defense officials have repeatedly emphasized the troops at the border are there to support civil authorities and that they are not expected to come into any contact with migrants. Generally, only about 20 percent of applicants are approved.

The U.S. fielded more than 330,000 asylum claims in 2017, almost double the number two years earlier and surpassing Germany as highest in the world. And it would more than double the number of people thought to be in the caravans.

The report, dated October 27, notes that caravan members are unlikely to arrive for at least two to four weeks. Trump has deployed more than 5,000 military personnel on the southwestern border to stop them from entering.

The migrants in the caravans are mostly from Honduras, where it started, as well as El Salvador and Guatemala.

A deployment of 15,000 would bring the military commitment on the border to roughly the same level as in war-torn Afghanistan.

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