President Donald Trump on Thursday accused Mexican and Central American leaders of doing “nothing” to prevent illegal immigrants from coming to the United States — one day after his administration signed an agreement with some of those same leaders aimed at reducing the number of migrants streaming north.
“Mexico is doing NOTHING to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants to our Country,” he tweeted. “They are all talk and no action. Likewise, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have taken our money for years, and do Nothing.”
Trump also suggested he’d shut the U.S.-Mexico border — a threat he’s floated before — as U.S. border officials stressed immigration enforcement is at the breaking point.
Mexico is doing NOTHING to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants to our Country. They are all talk and no action. Likewise, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have taken our money for years, and do Nothing. The Dems don’t care, such BAD laws. May close the Southern Border!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2019
The president’s tweet came as Mexico said it planned to set up a “containment belt” of federal forces to stem an increasing flow of Central American migrants.
Trump’s remarks stood in contrast with those of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who expressed gratitude for the collaboration among regional leaders in addressing border problems.
She met with Mexican officials and traveled to Honduras this week to meet with leaders of that country, Guatemala and El Salvador.
The U.S. and Central American officials signed a border security compact Wednesday that aims to expand intelligence sharing, address human trafficking and combat transnational gangs.
I would like to extend my profound gratitude to our Central American allies Honduras, Guatemala & El Salvador—as well as @usembassyhn and @USAmbHonduras—for their commitment to our common cause of secure borders & more orderly migration flows. https://t.co/XPZD0RBawU
— Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen (@SecNielsen) March 28, 2019
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday said migrants were increasingly coming north “because there are no options, no alternatives in Central America.”
Lopez Obrador claimed Mexico is doing its part to fight immigrant smuggling.
“We are going to do everything we can to help,” he said. “We don’t in any way want a confrontation with the U.S. government.”
He said Mexico was going to maintain a “very respectful relationship” with the U.S. government and Trump, adding that the U.S. concerns were legitimate.
While overall arrests at the border are still well below highs of the early 2000s, the U.S. is facing a surge of Central American families who ask for asylum and who cannot be easily returned, straining the system, creating a huge backlog in cases and overwhelming border facilities not set up to manage so many children and families.
Our system is at a breaking point. Because of outdated laws, misguided court decisions & congressional inaction, the U.S. is unable to efficiently process the mass arrival of migrants. The result is an ongoing humanitarian and security emergency at our Southern Border.
— Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen (@SecNielsen) March 27, 2019
Arrests along the Mexican border jumped to 66,450 in February, up 149 percent from a year earlier.
March is shaping up to be even busier. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said the agency was on track to make 100,000 arrests or denials of entry during the month, up about 30 percent from February and about double the same period last year.
About 55,000 people will have arrived as families, including 40,000 children.
The border agency temporarily reassigned several hundred border inspectors to process migrants, provide transportation and perform hospital watches to keep pace.
“That breaking point has arrived this week,” McAleenan said Wednesday in El Paso. “CBP is facing an unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis all along our southwest border.”
Mexico has allowed the U.S. to return some migrants to that country to wait as their asylum cases play out. Mexican Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero said the government would try to contain migrants heading north at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the narrowest part of the country’s south and the easiest to control.
“It’s going to be a big change,” she said.
Meanwhile, in Washington, Trump has spent months clashing with lawmakers over his long-promised border wall.
That conflict escalated last month when the president declared a national emergency to obtain billions in additional dollars for construction. The Democratic-led House passed a resolution opposing the move, but Trump vetoed the resolution. The House lacked the votes to override.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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