On Sunday morning, President Donald Trump referenced an impending series of immigrant ‘caravans’ moving through Mexico to spark his call for Congress to pass strict border laws.
“Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. ‘Caravans’ coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL,” Trump tweeted Sunday morning.
Trump appears to be referring to a migrant caravan assembled by the group Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People without Borders), which was discussed on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” shortly before he published his tweet. It’s not known if the President watched the specific segment, but he indirectly referenced claims mentioned in an on-air interview with a Border Patrol union representative.
While Trump said “no deal” for the DACA program, it is still operational. Federal courts have issued restraining orders keeping it active despite the expiration of the administration’s six-month deadline for Congress to push through a DACA deal.
It is not clear what the President was referring to when tweeting about “big flows” of individuals taking advantage of DACA, since the program is not accepting new applications right now.
The White House did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Alex Mensing, one of the US collaborators who works for Pueblo Sin Fronteras, started in the city of Tapachula, which is located in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, and borders Guatemala. The caravan of about 1,100 people is currently in Oaxaca, Mexico, about 420 miles from their starting point. Mensing said the migrants would turn themselves in and request asylum.
Pueblo Sin Fronteras said they would not respond to Trump’s tweet, but stated that the refugee caravan “is a movement made of people who were forced to flee their countries of origin due to persecution and violence.”
Mensing said the caravan’s primary goal is to “flee Central America” and seek asylum either within Mexico or the United States. About four or five different immigration rights groups are working with the asylum seekers, informing and preparing them on their journey to seek refuge.
This is the fifth year the group has done the caravan.
Two caravans were mobilized in 2017 with fewer people and many of their cases have yet to be resolved. Out of the 200 people who marched with the caravan, three have successfully been granted asylum in the US so far, while cases for the others are either in the court system or awaiting decisions.
Luis Videgaray Caso, Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs, tweeted a response to today’s statements by President Trump.
“Every day Mexico and the US work together on migration throughout the region. Facts clearly reflect this,” he said. “An inaccurate news report should not serve to this question cooperation. Upholding human dignity and rights is not at odds with the rule of law. Happy Easter.”