President Trump is considering a sweeping executive order that would block migrants, including asylum seekers, from entering the U.S. at the southern border in a bid to stop the caravan traveling north through Mexico. The White House, if it goes ahead with the measure, would issue new regulations restricting certain migrants from seeking asylum. The rules would effectively block most if not all the migrants who are taking part in the caravan, Politico reported. The order would be akin to Trump’s previous aggressive immigration-blocking executive orders, such as the travel ban aimed at halting people from some Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
Any attempt to block the entry of Central American migrants is likely to prompt legal challenges, though Trump is likely emboldened following a Supreme Court ruling earlier this summer that affirmed the president’s right to bar the entry of migrants who “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” Hundreds of U.S. troops are also set to make their way to the southern border to help Homeland Security and the National Guard as the caravan pushes north. An official told Fox News on Thursday roughly 800 soldiers will be sent to the area to offer “logistical support,” including providing tents and vehicles. It’s not immediately clear which units are being tasked with the mission as details are still being finalized. There are currently 2,100 National Guard troops on the southern border assisting Homeland Security.
Democrats, while previously outspoken regarding Trump’s immigration policies, are staying largely silent on the issue, instead preferring to remain focused on tackling the GOP on issues like health care, saying it’s the winning issue this election cycle. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrats in the country, slammed Trump in a statement earlier this week regarding the caravan of migrants, saying the president is “desperate” to change the conversation because “health care is the number one issue Americans care about.” According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey published last week, which surveyed people since the beginning of the caravan earlier this month, the issue of immigration isn’t the top concern for voters. It ranks below health care, which has consistently been viewed as the most important issue. Other key issues have been the economy, jobs and policies concerning gun rights.
The plan for the executive order comes just in the final stretch before the upcoming midterm elections, with Trump trying to make the issue of caravan the defining topic as voters head to the polls.
“Every time you see a caravan, or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic immigration laws!” Trump wrote in a tweet Monday. “Remember the midterms!”