Washington, DC – President Donald Trump gave a border security briefing from the White House on Thursday that left no doubt as to his plans for the arriving migrant caravan.
The President referred to the thousands-strong caravan of migrants seeking asylum in the United States as a “crisis on our southern border” and vowed to stop those people from entering the country.
“This is a defense of our country – we have no choice. We will defend our borders. We will defend our country,” President Trump said confidently.
Reporters asked President Trump what he would do if the approaching migrants threw rocks and became violent.
The issue is controversial because the U.S. military personnel who have been sent to the border are not legally permitted to conduct law enforcement.
“I hope not… I hope there won’t be that,” the President began. “But I will tell you this - anybody throwing stones, rocks like they did to Mexico and to the Mexican military and police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico - we will consider that a firearm.”
“Because there’s not much difference. When you get hit in the face with a rock – which as you know it was very violent a few days ago, very very violent. That break-in, it was a break-in of a country. They broke into Mexico…” he said.
“They’re throwing rocks viciously and violently – you saw that three days ago - really hurting the military. We’re not going to put up with that,” President Trump said. “They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. We’re going to consider – and I told them to consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police, I say consider it a rifle.”
The President pointed out that the United States has the largest immigration program on the planet and has issued 40 million green cards since 1970.
He said illegal immigration hurts workers, burdens taxpayers, legal immigrants, and puts a strain on schools and community resources.
“But we will not allow our generosity to be abused by those who would break our laws, defy our rules, violate our borders, break into our country illegally – we won’t allow it,” President Trump vowed. “Mass uncontrolled immigration is especially unfair to the many wonderful, law-abiding immigrants already living here who followed the rules and waited their turn…”
The President said “there’s a limit to how many people a nation can responsibly absorb into their societies,” and pointed out that right now, 1,500 to 2,000 undocumented immigrants cross illegally into the United States every day.
He said the booming U.S. economy was attracting the migrants, and poorly constructed laws were causing the problems.
“So let me begin by stating that these illegal caravans will not be allowed into the United states and they should turn back now, because they’re wasting their time,” President Trump said. “They should apply to come into our country. We want them to come into our country. Very much. We need people to help us with all of these companies that are coming in…”
But he said everyone needed to apply to come in legally, and those who tried to cross illegally would be stopped and deported if they didn’t have legitimate asylum claims.
“And we’ve already dispatched for the border United States military and they will do the job. They’re setting up right now. And they’re preparing. We hope nothing happens but if it does, we are totally prepared. Greatest military in the world,” the President boasted.
President Trump said the fact that Mexico offered asylum to the caravan members and they refused to take it “demonstrates these are not legitimate asylum seekers.”
“This is no longer safety, and asylum is about safety,” he said.
The President said most of the people in the caravan were coming to the United States for work.
“There are billions of people living at the poverty level, and the United States cannot absorb them all,” he held firm.
“At this very moment, large well-organized caravans of migrants are marching toward our southern border. Some people call it an “invasion” – it’s like an invasion. They have violently overrun the Mexican border,” President Trump said. “You saw that two days ago. These are tough people in many cases, a lot of young men, strong me, and a lot of men that maybe we don’t want in this country… but they’ve overrun the Mexican police and they’ve overrun and hurt badly Mexican soldiers.”
“So this isn’t an innocent group of people,” he continued, hammering home a key message point. “It’s a large number of people that are tough. They’ve injured, they’ve attacked, and the Mexican police and military has actually suffered. And I appreciate what Mexico is trying to do.”
President Trump said there were already 700,000 asylum seekers going through the U.S. legal system – about the same population as the state of Vermont.
He said the number could be much higher but that “the record keeping from past administrations has not exactly been good” and “they’ve been gaming the system since 2010.”
He blamed Democratic policies and liberal judges for the “catch and release” system of immigration enforcement that has failed the nation.
Other countries tell illegal immigrants “we have a border, get out” but the United States keeps them, he said.
“So, we’re moving them out. This endemic abuse of the asylum system makes a mockery of our immigration system displacing legitimate asylum seekers while rewarding those who abuse or defraud our system – which is almost everybody,” President Trump said. “These individuals disrespect the foundations of American government by choosing to voluntarily break the law as their first act on American soil.”
He said that if these caravans were allowed into our country, bigger and more emboldened caravans would follow.
“No nation can allow itself to be overwhelmed by uncontrolled masses of people rushing our border,” the President said.
He said his administration was working on new border and immigration policies, and getting the wall built.
President Trump also told reporters to expect an Executive Order soon that would clarify everything he’d gone over during the border security briefing.