Mexico migrant ‘caravan’ sparks Trump tweetstrom
U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out in fury on April 2 over immigration, an outburst triggered by images of a “caravan” of hundreds of Central American migrants headed toward the border.
He threatened to abrogate NAFTA - the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade pact - while demanding Congress pass tougher immigration legislation and support his plan for a wall along the Mexican frontier.
He declared he no longer supported a replacement for DACA, the program that had offered protection against deportation for about 700,000 undocumented immigrants, most of them Mexicans, who came to the U.S. as children.
Since taking office more than a year ago, Trump has sought to crack down on legal and undocumented immigration, but some of his proposals have become tied up in court and Congress.
“As ridiculous as it sounds, the laws of our country do not easily allow us to send those crossing our Southern Border back where they came from. A whole big wasted procedure must take place,” Trump tweeted in the evening on April 2, following similar comments in the morning and on April 1.
“Mexico & Canada have tough immigration laws, whereas ours are an Obama joke. ACT CONGRESS.”
The administration’s own statistics showed that arrests of undocumented migrants soared in the first year of Trump’s presidency, while illegal border crossings plummeted. Data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement suggested, however, that processes to deport arrested illegal immigrants have become even more backed up than before.
“Honduras, Mexico and many other countries that the U.S. is very generous to, sends many of their people to our country through our WEAK IMMIGRATION POLICIES. Caravans are heading here. Must pass tough laws and build the WALL. Democrats allow open borders, drugs and crime!”
The president has repeatedly tried to link immigration with crime but immigrant defenders say many immigrants are fleeing poverty and violence. Activists accuse authorities of rounding up longtime residents with families and jobs on minor infractions.
During his 2016 election campaign Trump called the North American Free Trade Agreement a disaster, and last year triggered a renegotiation of the 1994 pact which he has threatened to pull out of unless the U.S. gets a better deal.