Published: Tue, April 02, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

US Democrats Reject Trump's Decision on Central America

US Democrats Reject Trump's Decision on Central America

The Trump administration on Sunday demanded that Mexico and three Central American countries curb the surge of thousands of undocumented migrants heading to the United States, noting that the homeland security chief for former President Barack Obama agrees there is an immigration crisis at the southern US border.

Additionally, the president is considering closing down the southern border if Mexico doesn't do more to stop migrants from crossing into the U.S.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration said Monday as many as 2,000 US inspectors who screen cargo and vehicles at ports of entry along the Mexican border may be reassigned to help handle the surge of migrants.

As far as Mexico's role, he tweeted: "Mexico must use its very strong immigration laws to stop the many thousands of people trying to get into the USA".

His administration doubled down on that threat Sunday, with White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney saying Trump had few options in the absence of any support from Democrats for more border security or legislative action to change the immigration law.

Asked about migration in general and Trump's threat to shut the border specifically, Pope Francis told reporters as he returned from Morocco that "Builders of walls, be they made of razor wire or bricks, will end up becoming prisoners of the walls they build". "Why are these historic numbers - again, 100,000 people will cross the border this month alone", Mulvaney said.

"We need border security and we're going to do the best we can with what we have".

A final note: The underlying issue that needs to be addressed is the pull factor of America's flawed asylum system.

"Closing the border would cause an immediate depression in border state communities and, depending on the duration, a recession in the rest of the country", he said.

Less than a week before the administration said it would cut aid to the Northern Triangle countries, Nielsen was in Honduras to sign a what she called a "first of its kind" regional compact agreement with Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Salas said her whole family would be affected if the president closed the border.

Neither Trump aide offered any specific details or timeline for the potential border shutdown. They were joined by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which said such a step would inflict "severe economic harm".

Instead of ensuring the flow of goods across the border, the inspectors are being put to work processing migrants, taking their applications for asylum and transporting them to holding centres. "Similar scenes are unfolding at border stations across the 1,900-mile frontier, where Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, said last week that facilities had reached a 'breaking point, '" according to MSN.

The agency will also "immediately expand" a policy to return Central American migrants to Mexico as they wait for their asylum claims to be heard by "hundreds of additional migrants per day above current rates", Nielsen said.

Experts fear that cutting aid programmes will exacerbate problems in the three countries and force more people to migrate.

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