With the midterm elections only four days away, President Donald Trump has ramped up his immigration rhetoric. His new target: the migrant caravan making its way through Mexico to the U.S. border.
Designating the caravan as a national emergency, Trump ordered more than 5,200 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border and said that number could grow to between 10,000 and 15,000 troops. Trump has also stated that the military will not tolerate violence at the border, and any rocks thrown at troops will be treated like “a firearm.” (Fact-check: troops deployed at the border will be operating under standard rules on the use of force and won’t engage migrants in the manner Trump described.) President Trump also announced he will be signing an executive order “next week” aimed at restricting U.S. asylum rules, although he offered few details.
Currently, the migrant caravan is approximately 1,000 miles away and will take months to get to the border. Unlike what President Trump would have you believe, the caravan is not full of hardened criminals or “young, strong men.” It’s mostly made up of poor families who are seeking asylum. As Global Americans‘ William Naylor writes, “[Trump’s] threats are purely political. If the fear mongering pays off for Trump and the Republicans, look for him to continue vilifying Central American migrants in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.”