President Donald Trump is fuming over a U.S.-bound migrant caravan. Over the course of the past week, he’s posted 15 tweets about the caravan, estimated to consist of as many as 7,000 people, that left from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, earlier this month and has been growing along the way. Trump has placed blame on Democrats, threatened to cut aid to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, and urged an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws despite Congress being out of session.
He called the caravan an “assault on our country” at a rally Monday night in Houston and said the “Democrats had something to do with” it. Earlier in the day, Trump had pledged to cut off or “substantially” reduce foreign aid to the Northern Triangle countries.
“They’re paid a lot of money every year. We give them foreign aid. They did nothing for us, nothing. They did nothing for us,” he told reporters, adding, “We have been giving so much money to so many different countries for so long and it’s not fair and it’s not good. Then when we asked them to keep their people in their country, they’re unable to do it.”
Trump’s calls to action on immigration aren’t new. He campaigned on the issue in 2016 and has continued to push for his border wall since taking office. But it’s moments such as these, when images of thousands of migrants are broadcast across networks, that spark the president’s outrage and produce reactions that are highly problematic. Witness what happened in April, the last time a caravan from Latin America was headed north and the Trump administration implemented a policy called “zero tolerance” in hopes of deterring people from journeying to the southern border. Events since then have shown that this approach lacked nuance, triggered national and international outrage, and fell far short of addressing the deep-rooted problems that are causing people to migrate.