Mr. Trump also vowed toto Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, but he would need congressional approval to do so. Likewise, to mobilize the U.S. military and shut down the entire southern border would require a congressional waiver, as well as declaring a state of emergency, and any closure would take an immediate hit on trade with Mexico.
Any of these actions could also backfire and lead to more migration, since they would only add to the political and economic problems driving so many people out of those Central American countries. The Trump administration has “already implemented the most draconian policies,” Pierce observed, and yet those “did not deter” this caravan from coming anyway.
Instead, President Trump’s most direct impact could be using the caravan for political leverage to help Republicans in the midterm elections. In his rallies over the past week, Trump has baselessly accused Democrats of somehow organizing the caravan. He has claimedare lurking among the migrants, though he acknowledged, “There’s no proof of anything.” And he’s used the caravan as a rallying cry for supporting Republicans and stricter immigration laws, including funding for his long-promised border wall.
He has repeatedly told crowds at his rallies, “This is the election of the caravan.”