President Donald Trump said that troops would stay at the border “as long as necessary” as thousands of migrants poured into the Mexican border town of Tijuana, causing clashes with the locals there.
Speaking with reporters on Saturday morning before leaving to tour the California wildfire devastation, Trump said have built “great fencing, they built a very powerful fence.
“The fence is fully manned, nobody gets through,” he said. “When they’re caught, they’re not released.”
Trump ordered up to 15,000 troops to the border as up to 10,000 migrants spread across three caravans surged toward Tijuana, beginning to arrive there several days ago. Some 5,900 troops are currently deployed across California, Arizona, and Texas to provide support for Border Patrol agents.
Officials said that they were prepared for a large group of people rushing the fence, which has been discussed by some of the migrants.
“We do have who we need in place and just like always, we’re maintaining our border security. Anybody that is trying to unlawfully enter into the United States in between a port of entry—it’s illegal—so this is what we’re here for, this is what we’re doing. We’re protecting our border,” Tekae Michael, Border Patrol public affairs officer for the San Diego Sector, told the Epoch Times.
“Anybody coming to claim asylum into the United States—the legal way to do it is through a port of entry and presenting yourself and asking permission to come in. If you do choose to cross illegally in between a port of entry, you will be arrested and you will be prosecuted.”
Preparing further for hundreds or thousands of people illegally rushing into the United States, President Trump recently issued a proclamation making those who entered outside a port of entry ineligible for asylum.
In the proclamation, Trump noted that the migrants rejected an asylum offer from Mexico before traveling to the United States, and how most migrants claim a credible fear of persecution or torture but only a fraction of those who claim the fear ultimately qualify for asylum.
On Friday, Trump wondered why migrants heading to the United States seem to always be waving flags of the countries they’re fleeing from.
“If they have such fear and such problems, and they hate their countries, why do we see all the flags being waved?” he asked. “For Guatemala, for Honduras, for El Salvador … This has nothing to do with asylum, it has to do with getting into the country illegally.”
Possible Government Shutdown
President Trump has discussed negotiating with lawmakers to trade amnesty for some illegal aliens already in the United States for funding for a border wall.
Asked if he’d be okay with a government shutdown if he doesn’t get the funding, Trump said that this would be a good time, referring to how the lame-duck House of Representatives will change from Republican to Democrat control at the New Year.
“We’re talking about border wall, we’re talking about quite a big sum of money, about $5 billion. And I think probably if I was ever going to do a shutdown over border security—when you look at the caravan, when you look at the mess, when you look at the people coming in—this would be a very good time to do a shutdown,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s going to be necessary, because I think the Democrats will come to their senses, and if they don’t come to their senses, we will continue to win elections.”