As fear, anxiety and paranoia descend on members of the migrant caravan following a rash of deaths, inspiring many to turn back or accept rides from Mexican law enforcement back to the local immigration-processing facilities, President Trump is reportedly weighing an executive action that would suspend migrants’ ability to seek asylum in the US, virtually guaranteeing that any migrants who cross the US’s southern border would be immediately arrested and deported.
If Trump follows through with the plan, according to Politico, he would invoke his authority under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the same authority that allowed him to pursue the immigration ban that was upheld by the Supreme Court back in June, to temporarily suspend migrants ability to seek asylum, because, per the Washington Post, it “would be contrary to the national interest” and “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
However, several anonymous administration officials told WaPo that invoking this power – a decision that would almost certainly be blocked by a federal court (likely the same San Francisco district court that blocked multiple iterations of the Trump travel ban) – is “one of several” options under consideration. Though, as Fox News points out, a Supreme Court ruling earlier this summer affirmed the president’s right to bar the entry of migrants who “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
While Trump has accused Democrats of aiding the migrants with their tepid immigration policies, Fox notes that Democrats have largely avoided commenting on the issue of the caravan – a craven approach to politics that we’re sure their pro-immigration voters will appreciate – instead preferring to focus on “health care” as the defining issue of 2018 (even as ObamaCare premiums fell for the first time under Trump).
In a tweet sent Thursday, Trump urged members of the migrant caravan to turn around, promising that they would not be allowed to enter the US.
To those in the Caravan, turnaround, we are not letting people into the United States illegally. Go back to your Country and if you want, apply for citizenship like millions of others are doing!
Trump is also preparing to send as many as 1,000 US troops to the border, though the administration is reportedly still working out the exact scope of their responsibilities, where they would be deployed and who would ultimately exercise control (state governors along the border earlier this year agreed to send more than 4,000 National Guard troops to the border as part of a Trump administration plan).
In a statement to WaPo, a senior admin official reiterated that Trump hadn’t made a final decision.
“The Administration is considering wide range administrative, legal and legislative options to address the Democrat-created crisis of mass illegal immigration,” said a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal discussions. “No decisions have been made at this time,” the official said. “Nor will we forecast to smugglers or caravans what precise strategies will or will not be deployed.”
As more migrants turn back from the caravan, which first formed in Honduras after a local politician promised to pay and feed the migrants who joined in the journey (several non-profit groups have facilitated their movement through Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico) earlier this month, the caravan’s numbers have reportedly dwindled from more than 7,000 (some put the max as high as 14,000) to closer to 3,000. What’s left of the caravan is now 900 miles from the US border, and a second group is moving through Honduras.
Meanwhile, reports of violence, corruption and infiltration by criminal traffickers and gangsters have been documented by journalists, including a team from the nonprofit Judicial Watch, which cited a report in a Guatemalan newspaper claiming that the caravan had been organized by leftists (Venezuela has denied accusations that it helped organize the caravan via surrogates).
In a local newspaper report published last week Hernández asserted that leftist interests seeking to destabilize the country are manipulating migrants. Women and children are being used without regard to the risks to their lives, Hernández said. “The irregular mobilization was organized for political reasons to negatively affect the governance and image of Honduras and to destabilize the peace of neighboring countries,” the president said, adding that many have returned to the country after realizing they’ve been fooled.
In a series of interviews, JW also spoke with members of the caravan who affirmed that travelers were coming from “all over the world” to join in the march toward the border: