WASHINGTON—While lunching with the presidents of Baltic countries on April 3, President Donald Trump talked about using the military to control the southwest border.
“We are going to be guarding our border with our military,” Trump said. “That’s a big step.”
He did not provide any further details about a military presence on the border, but expressed his frustration over the porous border.
National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary James Mattis were also present at the lunch.
Trump also commented on a caravan of around 1,200 Central Americans traveling north through Mexico toward the United States.
“If it reaches our border, our laws are so weak and so pathetic … it’s like we have no border,” he said.
The caravan is highlighting the loopholes in U.S. immigration law that create the so-called “catch and release” phenomenon.
Under catch and release, anyone crossing the border illegally from Central America and claiming asylum will most likely be released into the United States within a few weeks and given a date to show up at an immigration hearing that is sometimes years away. Most will not show up at their hearing.
“We cannot have people flowing into our country illegally, disappearing, and, by the way, never showing up for court,” he said.
Asylum seekers need to prove they have “credible fear” in returning to their home country.
“The credible fear process was intended to be a lifeline for persons facing serious persecution,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in Virginia on Oct. 12, 2017.
“But it has become an easy ticket to illegal entry into the United States.”
Cases that began with a credible fear claim jumped from approximately 3,000 cases in 2009 to more than 69,000 in 2016, Sessions said.
Last year, compared to 2009, there were 700 percent more removal orders issued because people did not show up in court for their case based on a credible fear claim.
Removal orders issued after people failed to show up in court in all immigration cases have doubled since 2012, with nearly 40,000 issued in 2017 alone.
Trump has been busy on Twitter since the caravan set off in late March, threatening NAFTA if Mexico allows the group to continue. He also threatened to pull foreign aid from Honduras, where most of the caravan participants hail from.
“The big Caravan of People from Honduras, now coming across Mexico and heading to our ‘Weak Laws’ Border, had better be stopped before it gets there. Cash cow NAFTA is in play, as is foreign aid to Honduras and the countries that allow this to happen,” he tweeted early April 3.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted on April 2 that she is “working with Mexican officials to address the yearly illegal alien caravan. Exploring all options.”
Working with Mexican officials to address the yearly illegal alien caravan. Exploring all options.
— Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen (@SecNielsen) April 2, 2018
Mexican authorities responded by saying they’d allow some of the caravan members to apply for asylum in Mexico and about 400 had already been sent home.
“Under no circumstances does the Mexican government promote irregular migration,” Mexico’s Interior Department said in a statement late April 2.
The department also said Mexico is not responsible for stopping people from going to the United States to apply for asylum.
“It is not this government’s responsibility to make immigration decisions for the United States or any other country, so it will be up to the appropriate authorities of the United States to decide whether to authorize the entry of the caravan participants to U.S. territory,” the statement said.
Trump said of Mexico’s actions, “They did it because you really have to do it.”
“The caravan doesn’t irritate me, the caravan makes me very sad that this could happen to the United States,” Trump said. “President Obama made changes that basically created no border.”
Trump also reiterated building a wall. He recently proposed that the military budget be used for its construction.
“We need to have a wall that’s about 700 to 800 miles,” he said.
From The Epoch Times