For hours on Monday, White House officials were unable to provide an explanation for the president’s threats, which reflected both his apparent frustration with the migrant caravan and his determination to transform it into Republican election gains.
Federal agencies said they’d received no guidance on the president’s declaration, issued as he attempts to make illegal immigration a focus of next month’s midterm elections.
If Trump should follow through with his threat to end or greatly reduce US aid, that could worsen the poverty and violence that are a root cause of the migration he has been railing against, critics said. Trump tweeted “Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s police and military are unable to stop the caravan heading to the southern border of the United States.” He said without evidence that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in”.
“I have alerted border patrol and military that this is a National Emergy,” he wrote. “Must change laws!”
“Blame the Democrats,” he wrote. “Remember the midterms.”
At a campaign rally in Houston on Monday, he falsely accused Democrats of “encouraging millions of illegal aliens to break our laws, violate our borders and overwhelm our nation”.
“Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the US. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them.”
He added later: “We have been giving so much money to so many different countries for so long that it’s not fair And then when we ask them to keep their people in their country they’re unable to do it.”
But the White House would have to notify Congress if it wanted to cut or reallocate aid. AP