President Donald Trump unleashed a flurry of tweets today (April 2) that attacked Mexico for allowing "caravans" of immigrants to enter the United States and blamed Democrats for inaction on border legislation.
The Monday tweet storm, in which Trump claimed "our country is being stolen," followed similar claims made the previous day, when he criticized Democrats for "liberal" immigration laws and said that any deal to protect roughly 700,000 young immigrants known as "Dreamers" from deportation was dead.
…Congress must immediately pass Border Legislation, use Nuclear Option if necessary, to stop the massive inflow of Drugs and People. Border Patrol Agents (and ICE) are GREAT, but the weak Dem laws don’t allow them to do their job. Act now Congress, our country is being stolen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2018
Trump’s "caravan" accusation on Sunday came hours after Fox News’ "Fox and Friends," a show he reportedly watches regularly, referenced a BuzzFeed report on hundreds of Central Americans who are currently crossing Mexicom, allegedly on their way to the United States border.
The trek is organized by the volunteer group People Without Borders, which works to protect vulnerable migrants from Mexican authorities and drug cartels that often prey on Central Americans fleeing violence.
But a representative for the group told The New York Times on Sunday (April 1) that most migrants know they have little chance of obtaining asylum in the U.S. Instead, he said, many migrants just want to reach Mexico, where they intend to meet with members of Congress.
“Many of them know they won’t qualify for asylum. They are afraid of being detained,” said Roberto Corona, the group’s communications director.
On Sunday, Trump falsely claimed that the Central American migrants are trying to take advantage of DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era initiative he attempted to end that protects immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation and allows them to work legally.
To meet DACA eligibility, immigrants must have arrived in the U.S. before their 16th birthday and have lived in the country continuously since June 15, 2007. Applicants must also be enrolled in high school or have a high school degree, or be an honorably discharged veteran.
Last September, the Trump administration announced it would rescind DACA and urged Congress to take up the issue. Since then, Congress has repeatedly struggled to find a legislative solution for DACA recipients, and two federal judges have blocked Trump from ending the program.
On Sunday, Trump’s attempt to tie border protection to the fate of DACA recipients was met with condemnation, even among members of his own party.
Wrote John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, via Twitter:
A true leader preserves & offers hope, doesn’t take hope from innocent children who call America home. Remember, today is Easter Sunday. #DACA #Hope https://t.co/T7HUbhL9qd
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) April 1, 2018
"Trump has no interest in actually helping #DACA recipients or fixing our immigration system," said Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) via Twitter. "Since he made the decision to end the program, he gambled with the lives of 800,000+ #Dreamers for a divisive wall and has obstructed every attempt at compromise."