Patterico's Pontifications

10/22/2018

President Trump: This Will Be An Election Of The Caravan (UPDATE ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:12 pm

[guest post by Dana]

As the caravan of undocumented immigrants from Guatamala, Honduras and El Salvador makes its way through Mexico to the U.S. border, the numbers have reportedly increased to a staggering 5,000 individuals. President Trump responded to the northward migration with a series of tweets this morning:

President Trump vowed Monday to cut off or “substantially” reduce aid to three Latin American nations, voicing fresh frustration as a growing caravan of migrants that originated in Honduras continued to make its way toward the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S.,” Trump said in one of a string of morning tweets on the subject. “We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them.”

It was not immediately clear what payments Trump was alluding to or the extent to which he could act without congressional approval.

Trump also expressed frustration with Mexico’s military and police, saying they appear “unable to stop the Caravan” and that he has alerted the U.S. Border Patrol and military to what he termed a national emergency.

Ahead of the Nov. 6 midterms, Trump has sought to turn the caravan into a symbol of the larger issue of immigration, which the White House believes can be used to drive up turnout among the Republican base.

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I was unable to find any support for President Trump’s claims that “Middle Easterners” were a part of the caravan. Instead, I found this caution about assuming any such thing:

You’re going to be hearing a lot about Guatemala catching 100 ISIS members. @JudicialWatch and its dupes and cronies are spinning this as if they’re being arrested out of the ranks of the “caravan,” in support of Trump’s “Middle Easterner emergy” meme.

But, as others have pointed out, Judicial Watch appears to be using an unsourced boast from Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and >associating it with the caravan.

On October 11, Prensa Libre reported that Morales claimed his admin deported “close to” 100 ISIS members. Morales assumed office in 2016.

Judicial Watch misleadingly reported this as “ISIS Terrorists Caught in Guatemala as Central American Caravan Heads to U.S.”

But even Morales didn’t connect it to the caravan. Morales made the boast at a conference back on October 11th and 12th. The only specific incident his administration cited was an arrest of some Syrians with fake documents in 2016.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Moraless shared the news on Thursday as 4,000 migrants were making their way to the Guatemala and Mexican border in an effort to cross over.

Yet, under the dishonest urging of @JudicialWatch, this is being spun as “Guatemala catches 100 ISIS members in caravan heading for U.S.” Just look.

As far as there being criminals in the caravan, there is confirmation that previously deported individuals are indeed a part of the caravan. While there are not specific numbers available, some were willing to go on record:

And then there were the deportees. Many of the migrants here had previously lived in the United States, for years or even decades, joining the caravan to reunite with their children, or to resume old jobs. They were undeterred by the American authorities who had apprehended them or the U.S. president who promised to keep them out again.

Some of them had returned voluntarily to their home countries long ago, but eventually determined that there was nothing there for them. Now, they were traversing Mexico while President Trump tweeted about their journey[.]

“It’s time for me to go back to the United States. It’s a country where I can live my life, unlike Guatemala,” said Job Reyes, 36, who had spent most of his childhood and teenage years in Los Angeles, attending kindergarten through high school there.

He said he had returned to Guatemala when his visa expired 14 years ago…“When I heard about the caravan, I knew it was my chance,” he said.

Imner Anthony Fuentes, 29, had the same reaction. He had been deported five months ago from Birmingham, Ala. His son was still living there, with his U.S. citizen girlfriend, not far from the framing store where Fuentes had worked for six years. He was used to the back-and-forth: He said he had been deported six times.

“That’s just how it is,” Fuentes said. “They catch you, and you try to get back.”

According to reports, between the three countries, the U.S. is projected to provide a total of $260 million in aid for the 2019 fiscal year.

And as far as this becoming a rallying cry for the GOP before the midterms, when one remembers that taking on illegal immigration and building a wall at the southern border was one of the main planks of his campaign, it makes sense that Trump would use the crisis to rev up his base before an election. This from a rally in Mesa, AZ:

Under two enormous banners—PROMISES MADE and PROMISES KEPT—Trump told an audience of roughly 4,000 people that a Honduran migrant caravan, also roughly 4,000 people, would “break our laws, violate our borders, and overwhelm our nation” if it were to enter the United States.

“They’re fighting some bad people in that group,” Trump said, of the Mexican military. “You see the people come up and you listen to the fake news back there, and you’d think they’re all wonderful people! You got some bad people in those groups, you got some tough people in those group, and I’ll tell you what: This country does not want them.”

And at a campaign stop in Montana, he told an enthusiastic crowd of supporters:

“This will be an election of Kavanaugh, the caravan, law and order and common sense. … Remember it’s gonna be an election of the caravan.”

It’s not clear what any sort of military intervention at the U.S. border would look like, nor whether the President plans to go through Congress.

And worth a mention, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yestserday:

“We also are deeply concerned by the violence provoked by some members of the group, as well as the apparent political motivation of some organizers of the caravan,” Pompeo said.

“As President Trump has stated, consistent with U.S. law, the United States will not allow illegal immigrants to enter or remain in the United States,” said Pompeo.

Yet he provided no examples of the migrants inciting violence, nor could I find any when doing a search.

UPDATE: There is a report this afternoon that Bangladeshis are part of the carvavan. The Daily Caller has the story:

Univision correspondent Francisco Santa Anna reported from the bridge separating Guatemala and Mexico. The bridge has been packed with thousands of migrants demanding access to Mexico, with the ultimate goal of crossing the border of the United States illegally. The caravan has now swelled to many thousands.

The Bangladeshis, he said, were detained in an immigration facility, though it’s not clear what happened to them after their detention.

“The borders in Central American are not as strong as the U.S., which makes it possible for people from Panama and Ecuador to cross easily,” Santa Anna said on Univision. “They cross from Costa Rica, then later go through Guatemala and eventually make it into our country.”

“Yesterday when we were traveling through Guatemala, we noticed people from El Salvador and even people from Bangladesh,” he continued. “Can you imagine what they had to do to get here? They infiltrated themselves in this caravan and tried to cross with the crowd. That would have benefited them greatly.”

(h/t commenter xmas.)

UPDATE x2: Perhaps this is what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was referring to, which happened during the crossing into Mexico:

The men and the women of the caravan turned violent and began to riot upon being denied passage into Mexico. The migrants, most of whom began their journey last week in Honduras, had traveled hundreds of miles on foot or by bus and were unwilling to take no for an answer. They quickly moved to overwhelm the law enforcement and military officers on both sides of the border by hurling rocks and other readily available objects.

One of the migrants, a Honduran man who was first to overcome the police barriers and cross into Mexico, was heard shouting euphorically that no one could stop the caravan’s momentum.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana


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