President Donald Trump made a very strong statement Thursday against the migrant caravans from Honduras, and said that they could be fired upon if they threw rocks at law enforcement officials at the border.
"We will consider that a firearm"
In a media briefing on Thursday about changes to illegal immigration policy, the president also said that law enforcement officials were given the order to fire on migrants if they became violent.
"I hope there won't be that, but I will tell you this – anybody throwing rocks," he said, "we will consider that a firearm, because there's not much difference."
The president made it clear that he hoped it didn't come to firing on migrants, but that he gave the order to do so if they became violent.
Migrants have shown a willingness to turn to violence to continue their trek - in Mexico the police fired rubber bullets and caused one fatality when migrants threw rocks and bottles at them. Trump cited the violence in his speech as justification for his policies.
Trump also cited the offer made by Mexico's government to house and aid many migrants if they stopped their caravan from heading to the U.S. border. The migrants refused, saying they intended to continue.
"Asylum is not a program for those living in poverty"
The president announced important changes to immigration policy that he was planning to institute.
"My administration is finalizing a plan to end the rampant abuse of our asylum system," he said.
"Asylum is not a program for those living in poverty," he added. "There are billions of people living at the poverty level. The United States cannot possibly absorb them all."
“Migrants seeking asylum will have to present themselves lawfully at a port of entry,” said Trump. “Those who choose to break our laws and enter illegally will no longer be able to use meritless claims to gain automatic admission into our country.”
“We are not releasing anymore"
The president also said he would be ending "catch and release," the controversial practice were some migrants caught illegally present in the United States are released until their scheduled hearing with an immigration judge.
“We are not releasing anymore," he said. "They are going to stay with us until the deportation hearing.”
The president said he would issue a comprehensive executive order about these new policies in a week.
Here's the video of Trump's briefing on immigration:
"They should turn back now"
The president began his remarks by saying that the caravans should turn back because they won't be allowed entry.
"[T]hese illegal caravans will not be allowed into the United States," the president said. "And they should turn back now. Because they're wasting their time."
"They should apply to come into our country," he added. "We want them to come into our country."