Migrants hitch rides on passing trucks as they move through Mexico near the town of Arriaga, October 27, 2018 (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)
Campaigning for the November 6 Congressional elections, Donald Trump has ordered the US military to move 5,200 troops to the Mexican border.
Trump and Republican leaders, trying to keep control of both the Senate and House of Representatives, have projected the “threat” of would-be immigrants amid the Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy which has separated children from parents and promoted Trump’s Wall with Mexico.
Trump and his supporters have seized a caravan of about 7,000 people, mostly women and children, moving from Central America through Mexico to the border to highlight claims for asylum. They have falsely said the caravan is an “invasion”, including “unknown Middle Easterners”, funded by the Democrats and by donors such as billionaire philanthropist George Soros.
Soros was the target of one of 13 pipe bombs posted by a fervent Trump supporter last week. And on Saturday, the gunman who killed 11 worshippers and wounded six in a Pittsburgh mosque cited Jewish support of the caravan as one of his motives.
Trump has continued his verbal attacks on “fake news” media and political opponents, and on Monday the Defense Department announced that it has accepted his demand for the deployment of the active-duty troops — even though the caravan has shrunk to about 3,500 people during its move through Mexico and is more than six weeks from the US border.
JUST IN: US troops already flowing to border. 800 arrived today. Another 200 to arrive tomorrow. 1700 will be in place by Saturday, according to senior US defense official. 5000 total expected to be sent. Mattis signed order Friday authorizing troops to be there through Dec 15,
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) October 29, 2018
“This is using the troops as props,” said Jason Dempsey, an Army infantry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan who is an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “We’re using a bunch of people to waste their time while they backstop the Border Patrol.”
Trump used an interview with supporting channel Fox on Monday night to portray an invasion by “a lot of bad people” and gang members.
Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
Defying court orders blocking his separation of immigrant children from parents, Trump said the Administration will build “tent cities” to indefinitely hold anyone who seeks asylum:
We are going to put tents up all over the place.
We are not going to build structures and spend all of this, hundreds of millions of dollars. We are going to have tents. They are going to be very nice, and if they don’t get asylum, they get out.
Trump is also expected to take executive action to bar entry to all Central Americans, including asylum-seekers.
His latest steps and language were so provocative that a Fox anchor, Shepard Smith, broke ranks with the channel:
Shep Smith on FOX: "The migrants are 2 months away if they make it here at all. Tomorrow is one week before the midterm election, which is what all of this is about. There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There is nothing to worry about." pic.twitter.com/6sxT6g4Y74
— Holly Fιɢυeroα O'Reιlly (@AynRandPaulRyan) October 29, 2018
NBC’s Jacob Soboroff, who has been at the forefront of reporting on “zero tolerance” and the break-up of immigrant families, notes:
Important reminder: cities along the southern border including San Diego, El Paso and McAllen are *already* some of the safest in America.
Trump’s own DEA says “spillover violence” isn’t a concern. https://t.co/gf8Kl3O4K3
— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) October 29, 2018
Meanwhile, White Press Sarah Huckabee Sanders continued to try and pin blame on media such as CNN:
No @PressSec, CNN did not say @realDonaldTrump was directly responsible for the bomb sent to our office by his ardent and emboldened supporter. We did say that he, and you, should understand your words matter. Every single one of them. But so far, you don’t seem to get that. pic.twitter.com/ZbH5DQggWq
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) October 29, 2018
Trump: I’ll End Birthright Citizenship
In another pre-election whistle to his perceived anti-immigrant base, Trump said he is preparing an executive order to end birthright citizenship, even though the step is almost certainly unconstitutional.
Trump said in an interview released on Tuesday:
We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years, with all of those benefits. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.
The 14th Amendment to the Constitution states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
Presented with this, Trump insisted, “You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.”
Axios, which conducted the interview as part of a documentary on Trump, said “conversations with several sources, including one close to the White House Counsel’s office” confirmed the plans.