Trump Makes His Closing Immigration Pitch Before Midterms: The Caravan Is an “Invasion”

The president thinks his forceful—and inaccurate—condemnation of immigrants is a political winner.

President Donald Trump talks about illegal immigration at the White House on Thursday.Susan Walsh/AP

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President Donald Trump used a speech at the White House on Thursday afternoon to make a closing argument before Tuesday’s midterm elections: The migrant caravan slowly walking toward the United States is an “invasion,” and his administration will take extreme measures to stop it.

The speech was Trump’s latest effort to make immigration the key issue in midterm elections. Republicans see immigration as a winning issue to turn out their base voters. They’ve described a crisis at the border, even though Border Patrol apprehensions are far below historical levels.

Trump said on Thursday that the administration plans to prevent migrants who cross the border illegally from gaining asylum—a radical and possibly illegal move. HuffPost reports:

President Donald Trump said Thursday that his administration is finalizing a plan to deny asylum to migrants who cross into the U.S. illegally ― a move that would be sure to draw legal challenges should it come to fruition…

He said Thursday that he would issue an executive order “sometime next week” that would be “quite comprehensive.” He said the plan would shut down access to asylum for people who seek safety in the United States unless they go to legal ports of entry. By law, immigrants can seek asylum either at ports of entry or once in the U.S. ― even if they crossed illegally.

Trump insisted his plan to restrict asylum would be “totally legal.” He repeated his vow to indefinitely lock up asylum-seekers while they pursue immigration claims, and claimed that “almost everybody” is abusing the system rather than pursuing legitimate efforts.

“We have a lot of tents,” Trump said. “We have a lot of everything. We’re holding them right there. We’re not letting them into our country.”

Immigrant rights groups are expected to challenge any limits placed on access to asylum.

“President Trump did not announce an immigration policy this afternoon, but repeatedly lied about the asylum system, his family separation policy, and his largely unfunded wall,” Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement after the president’s address. “If he plans at some point to prohibit people from applying for asylum between the ports of entry, that plan is illegal. What is clear from the timing and vague nature of today’s remarks is that he is simply trying to inflame his base in the final run-up to the midterms.”

Trump’s comparison of the caravan—many of whose members are women and children seeking asylum—to an invasion echoes the language of Robert Bowers, the man accused of killing 11 people at Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday. “I have noticed a change in people saying ‘illegals’ that now say ‘invaders.’” Bowers wrote in one social media post. “I like this.”

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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