The New York Times reported Thursday that President Donald Trump is considering closing the United States’ southern border with Mexico.
According to the Times:
“The effort would be the starkest indication yet of Mr. Trump’s election-season push to play to his anti-immigrant base as his party fights to keep control of Congress.”
“The proposal amounts to a sweeping use of presidential power to fortify the border and impose the kind of aggressive immigration restrictions and enforcement measures that Mr. Trump has made his signature pursuit.”
“The plan is expected to prompt a swift challenge in federal courts.”
If the president does seal off the southern border it would be the culmination of a series of steps that he has taken or threatened to take to deal with illegal immigration.
In the past few days he has announced his intentions to stop the Central American “caravan” and to send as many as 1,000 active-duty Army troops to help secure the southern border.
He seems desperate to stop what he has called an “onslaught” of illegal immigration with less than two weeks until the midterm elections.
He has posted many tweets and made numerous public statements expressing concern about the thousands of Central American migrants traveling north through Mexico. They have stated that their goal is to reach the U.S. border. Many in the group are women and children seeking refuge from violence and economic hardship.
Trump, however, said (with no evidence) that criminals and “unknown Middle Easterners” were “mixed in” among the people in the migrant caravan. He has also blamed the existence of the caravan on Democrats, saying (again, with no evidence) that they support unlimited illegal immigration into the country.
Earlier on Thursday Trump addressed one of his tweets to the caravan of asylum seekers. He tweeted:
“To those in the Caravan, turnaround, we are not letting people into the United States illegally. Go back to your Country and if you want, apply for citizenship like millions of others are doing!”
To those in the Caravan, turnaround, we are not letting people into the United States illegally. Go back to your Country and if you want, apply for citizenship like millions of others are doing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2018
After Trump’s tweet Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times writer Maggie Haberman said she believes that Trump’s threat to seal the border will be a major campaign theme leading up to the midterms. She tweeted:
“Trump’s tweet this morning wasn’t a one-off – he is looking at closing the border entirely as a pre-election effort to stoke his base. Not clear that this would ever actually happen, only that White House will likely drive it till Nov. 6”
Trump's tweet this morning wasn't a one-off – he is looking at closing the border entirely as a pre-election effort to stoke his base. Not clear that this would ever actually happen, only that White House will likely drive it till Nov. 6 https://t.co/vk6ASBxKFZ
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) October 26, 2018
Trump’s new threat is his latest attempt to come up with a winning issue for Republicans in the midterm elections. They have failed with previous attempts to use the economy and tax cuts to win over voters. They are desperately trying to convince voters that they are the party that will protect pre-existing conditions and provide affordable healthcare. They have stoked fears that the U.S. is being invaded by an army of dangerous migrants who are merely poor refugees seeking asylum.
Luckily the majority of American voters are not dumb enough to fall for Trump’s lies and fear-mongering. On November 6th he will find out that his desperate ploys have not worked when Democrats take charge of the U.S. House of Representatives.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.