President Donald Trump speaks during a luncheon with the leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on April 3, 2018 at The White House in Washington, DC. The President answered questions from the media about a wide range of issues including illegal immigration from Mexico and relations with Russia. (Photo: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
A refugee rights group denounced the president for attempting to “bully” peaceful asylum seekers and threaten immigrants already in the U.S.
By Jake Johnson / 04.03.2018
After days of ranting and raving on Twitter about the “caravans” of migrants making their way toward the United States—”caravans” that are made up largely of Honduran asylum-seekers looking to call attention to their plight—President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that he has begun working with Defense Secretary James Mattis to deploy the military to “guard” the U.S.-Mexico border until his proposed wall is constructed.
“We have very bad laws for our border, and we are going to be doing some things—I’ve been speaking with General Mattis—we’re going to be doing things militarily,” Trump declared during a White House meeting with Baltic leaders on Tuesday. “Until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military.”
Lawmakers and advocacy groups immediately called the new proposal—which is reportedly favored by White House senior advisor Stephen Miller—as a “beyond disturbing” addition to Trump’s already expansive anti-immigrant agenda.
In a statement responding to Trump’s “caravan” tweets on Monday, the refugee rights group Pueblo Sin Fronteras highlighted America’s role in fueling the violence migrants are now attempting to flee by supporting the 2009 Honduran military coup and denounced the president for refusing to honor international agreements that enshrine the rights of asylum seekers.
“The unprecedented number of Central Americans who have joined the current refugee caravan and the high percentage of people fleeing Honduras in the group are the result of multiple political crises in the region provoked in large part by the policies of the U.S. government,” the statement noted.
“The U.S. president opportunistically invoked refugee caravans as a pretext for threatening immigrants already in the country,” the group added. “In the face of this bullying and these threats of mass violence, we continue to stand in solidarity with displaced people of all races, ethnicities, creeds, abilities, and gender and sexual identities.”