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Trump threatens to close the border and cancel Mexican trade deal as migrant caravan travels to US

Honduran migrants aboard vehicles head in a caravan Thursday to the United States in Guatemala City. President Donald Trump threatened to send the military to close its southern border if Mexico fails to stem the 'onslaught' of migrants from Central America, in a series of tweets that blamed Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. (JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump threatened Thursday to use the military to shut the U.S.-Mexico border and to cancel a newly announced trade deal with Mexico and Canada as a large caravan of Honduran migrants continues traveling toward the United States, the Washington Post reported.

The president called on Mexico to “stop this onslaught.”

What happened?

Trump started by blaming the problem on Democrats. He wrote on Twitter: "I am watching the Democrat Party led (because they want Open Borders and existing weak laws) assault on our country by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, whose leaders are doing little to stop this large flow of people, INCLUDING MANY CRIMINALS, from entering Mexico to U.S.....

Then he moved on to criticize the countries for having "almost no control over their population."  In response, Trump said he will consider stopping all payments to the nations and using the military to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

He wrote: "...In addition to stopping all payments to these countries, which seem to have almost no control over their population, I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught — and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!.."

Finally, Trump reiterated that an unsecured border allows "criminal elements and drugs pouring in" and noted that the "assault" on the U.S. at the border "is far more important ... than Trade or the USMCA." The USMCA, or the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, is the new trade agreement the president announced earlier this month that the White House is touting as a replacement for NAFTA.

He wrote: "... The assault on our country at our Southern Border, including the Criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in, is far more important to me, as President, than Trade or the USMCA. Hopefully Mexico will stop this onslaught at their Northern Border. All Democrats fault for weak laws!"

With the midterm elections approaching, Trump has urged fellow Republicans to make immigration a key issue.

Is immigration increasing?

Trump is apparently frustrated that record levels of migrants are entering the U.S. with children since his administration stopped the practice of separating families at the border, the Post reported.

In September, Border Patrol agents arrested 16,658 family members. It was highest one-month total on record and an 80 percent increase from July, according to CNN. The figure came from unpublished statistics by the Department of Homeland Security.

The caravan heading toward the U.S. border has reportedly grown to as many as 4,000 people since it left San Pedro Sula, one of the world’s most violent cities, according to published reports.

Migrants have said they are trying to escape from gang threats and violence. They also have said they are seeking jobs and better lives for their families.

Mexican officials have said members of the Honduran caravan with proper documentation would be allowed to enter the country. Those without it would have to apply for refugee status or face deportation, officials said Wednesday.

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